Post-Pentecost 2018 Worship Planning Series

Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 2018, Year B

Today we may all be on the edge or in the middle of some sort of season of “How?” And that’s why we’re reaffirming baptism today. Because it’s in baptism that we remember what we’re all supposed to be about. It’s in baptism that the Holy Spirit first starts pouring spiritual gifts into our lives. It’s in this community, living this baptismal covenant together, that we’re learning how to use these gifts and to live as Christ’s representatives on mission with him in the world.


Trouble in My Way

Source: The Africana Hymnal, 4118
Recommended Key: D♭ or D
Tempo: 108-116 bpm
Instrumentation: a cappella
Notes: This song is in a call-and-response format. It can be sung by a congregation, but it would need to be taught by repetition with leadership from a small group. The congregation could sing on the leader or response parts; either is acceptable. Claps on beats 2 and 4 could also be added, and the leader is responsible for setting the tempo and the character of the singing. It is also possible for a small group only to sing this song.

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Source: The Africana Hymnal, 4012
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: Very rubato, without tempo
Instrumentation: a cappella
Notes: “Long-meter” hymn singing is a remarkable tradition within the African American church. The term “long meter” does not relate to the syllabic meter of the text, but the style in which the text is sung. Long-meter hymns are most often sung a cappella, although accompaniment can be added. This style of singing requires a confident leader to guide the congregation through the music, and it also requires experience from within the congregation. For examples on contextual performance practice, see the video in the resources below.

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 474
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 56-64 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or rhythm section
Notes: I prefer accompanying this hymn with a slow swing rhythm, although there can be other variations. Choirs also love singing this hymn a cappella, so that is a great option to support congregational singing. This hymn also works well for soloists who wish to take some liberty with tempo, rhythm, and ornamentations on melody.

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 127
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 96-104 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: The basses in your choir will love you dearly if you sing the CWM RHONNDA tune because of the echo near the end! Many congregations will be familiar with this tune. Keep the pulse moving and the atmosphere confident.
Resources: History of Hymns »

Everlasting God

Source: Worship & Song, 3021
Recommended Key: A, B♭, B, or C
Tempo: 112-116 bpm
Instrumentation: Band or solo guitar
Notes: This song can get a bit tricky at the transition between “wait upon the Lord” and “Our God.” One way to get around this is to omit the words “we will” in measures 2 and 6. This will allow enough space for a quick breath to get through this awkward transition. This text and tune are triumphant and joyful, and congregations can sing it quite well.

Strong Tower

Source: CCLI #4448873
Recommended Key: D
Tempo: 72-76 bpm
Instrumentation: Band, piano, or solo guitar
Notes: The range is manageable, but the jump in tessitura (an average range within a section) between verse and chorus must be anticipated. The jump signifies the strength in the “tower” metaphor.

Come As You Are

Source: CCLI #7017790
Recommended Key: B♭
Tempo: 130-136 bpm
Instrumentation: Band, solo guitar, or piano
Notes: This song of invitation is a call for people to lay down their burdens and come to Christ’s table. The song can be found on Discipleship Ministries’ CCLI Top 100 project yellow list, which means we encourage worship planning teams to be in dialogue about this song and its use in worship. One of the issues lifted up is the personification of “heaven,” which is not terribly severe in and of itself, but is a prime example of ambiguity of divine address. It can create confusion by equating “heaven” and “God,” especially to someone not particularly steeped in Christian doctrine (like someone in worship for the first time).

Shall We Gather at the River

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 723
Recommended Key: D
Tempo: 84-88 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or a capella
Notes: This hymn is a gospel-era favorite by Robert Lowry, who also wrote hymns such as “Up from the Grave He Arose,” “Nothing But the Blood,” and the refrain and tune for “Marching to Zion.” Vocal soloists are also encouraged to consider the setting of this hymn by Aaron Copland, which he entitled “At the River.” See the resource link below to the songbook that includes this title.
Resources: Vocal Solo (Copland) »

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

Source: The Africana Hymnal, 4089
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 128-134 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano, band, or rhythm section
Notes: This tune is, for all practical purposes, the same tune set with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and is easily singable by many congregations, regardless of style. A gospel-style accompaniment can add a good bit of energy to the singing of this song. The text focuses upon the transformation felt “since I laid my burdens down.”

All My Fountains

Source: CCLI #5925670
Recommended Key: C
Tempo: 96-106 bpm
Instrumentation: Band or solo guitar
Notes: The rhythms are somewhat difficult, so this song may be best sung by a soloist or small group. It can be a powerful metaphor when used with ritual action involving water, but it might prove difficult for congregational singing.

The River Is Here

Source: CCLI #1475231
Recommended Key: G or F
Tempo: 108-112 bpm
Instrumentation: Band, solo guitar, or piano; percussion preferred
Notes: If using a keyboard instrument as the accompaniment with this song, do not double the melody. Allow the voice to lead, and have the pianist play simple chords on the beats. This song offers another powerful statement when used with ritual action involving water.

Blest Be the Tie That Binds

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 557
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 108-116 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: It is easy to accompany and sing this hymn as if it were a march in 3/4 time, but I would encourage a gentler approach, with more emphasis on count 1 and less on 2 and 3, with more legato accompaniment. Remember, the first note is not on count 1!
Resources: History of Hymns »

More Than Conquerors

Source: CCLI #7014648
Recommended Key: F or G
Tempo: 70 bpm
Instrumentation: Band or solo guitar with percussion
Notes: The text includes an allusion to Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (NRSV). Make note that the tempo marking on the file in SongSelect is far too fast and not the same as the recording by the Rend Collective, which is the tempo listed here–70 bpm. There is also a possibility of adding polyrhythm (in this case, 2 against three) with percussion, especially in the chorus. Using polyrhythms can build intensity if it is used subtly and does not detract from the melody.

In This Series...

Trinity Sunday 2018 — Planning Notes Second Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Third Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes Fifth Sunday After Pentecost 2018 — Planning Notes