Season After Epiphany 2018 Worship Planning Series

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018, Year B

While Moses is assuring the people of God’s plan to provide for a new leader, he also gives them guidelines that the leader must follow. These guidelines are now in the people’s awareness as they prepare for a leadership shift. “If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it.” Our theological task as United Methodists gives us a similar guideline to discovering the arrival at truth. Our theological task begins with the question, “Is it true?”  What things are true and worthy of celebration as we seek answers throughout our life’s journey of faith?

Answer | RISE UP!

Rising (CCLI #4662460)

Gathering songs in opening worship song sets are often quick and energetic, and this work represents the best of what modern songs have to offer. Connecting the work of worship with the work of ministry and mission, Matt Redman and Paul Baloche have incorporated Psalm 113:3 with a driving tune that can be easily accompanied by any number of instruments. They key is knowing what to play. If using piano, do not accompany the vocal sheet as written. The voice, not the piano, needs to lead this tune. Otherwise, it becomes too unwieldy and clunky. Quarter note chords on the piano are enough because the melody is interesting, motivic (easily learned and remembered), and easily supported. The more instruments you add, the simpler the piano part can become. Add guitar, bass, drums, and any other instruments within your congregation. Rest assured in knowing, however, a solo piano or guitar will do! The key of E is recommended.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (UMH 139)

A classic and favorite among many church musicians, this hymn commands power in its very singing, and praise is embodied in the nature of the tune. If this hymn and tune are not familiar to your congregation, it is teachable. The first two phrases are exactly the same, and the breath required for both is the same: six-measure phrases. After that, there is a short, two-measure phrase, followed by a three-measure phrase and a four-measure phrase. This illustrates how teaching by rote by “echoing” the melody can work (once you have taught the first phrase, the congregation knows over half of the tune). Another item to note–since there are long, six-measure phrases in the hymn, keep the tempo moving forward enough that the congregation can sing the long phrases in one breath. By the time your congregation reaches the phrase, “Let the amen sound from his people again,” there is likely to be joyous singing, even from those who do not know the hymn. Many organists love this tune as well, and there are plenty of instrumental settings of LOBE DEN HERREN for organ, piano, handbells, or other instrumental ensemble. Read History of Hymns: "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty" »

Too Much (CCLI #4703848)

Leeland Mooring has risen to prominence in the Christian recording industry because of his unique voice and the presence of great songs like this one. However, his voice is pitched quite high, and it is recommended to sing this song at least down a major third (Bb), or maybe even a fifth (G). Singing in a lower range will help your congregation sing more comfortably as they learn the syncopated rhythms throughout. In addition, if you choose to segue into the next hymn, “When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise,” the key of G (relative to E minor) will be a seamless transition. Accompany with piano, guitar, or band, but allow the voice, not the instruments, to lead the song. Within this service, it would also be acceptable to allow this to be a solo that segues into the next song, which is written more to be a congregational song and can serve as a fitting response.

When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise (TFWS 2216)

The tone of this hymn is almost defiant when paired with the KINGSFOLD tune, and singing it allows for a bit of righteous anger on behalf of those feeling that emotion in the congregation. However, on the second half of each stanza, the hymn turns toward the prayer for God to remind us that God knows our despair. The end of the final stanza even moves toward thankfulness in the midst of “the shadowed way.” Accompany on organ or piano, or even this arrangement of the tune if you would like to accompany with a Celtic ensemble.

Holy Ground (CCLI #21198, choir or ensemble, with TFWS 2272 congregation on refrain)

The CCLI number is offered for this song because The Faith We Sing includes the refrain only. With this in mind, it is recommended to have a soloist sing the stanzas of this classic modern worship song and invite the congregation to sing the well-known refrain. The ideal key is Eb, and a transition to the key of F is also included in the accompaniment and singer’s editions of The Faith We Sing. However, if you will segue into the next hymn as a part of this time in worship, I recommend the key of D in order to make a seamless transition between songs. In your visual imagery in the sanctuary for this service, I also recommend a picture or visual design that incorporates a pair of empty sandals to connect with Moses’ experience speaking before God and standing on holy ground.

Praise and Thanksgiving Be to God (UMH 604)

This chorale is a wonderful example of a doxological hymn that addresses all the persons of the Trinity–one at a time, and then all together in the final stanza. The text reminds us that the Trinity is an embodiment of unity and kinship with one another. If you are using this hymn in conjunction with “Holy Ground” as listed in the worship order, you may choose to sing stanzas 1 and 4 rather than the entire hymn. The best accompaniment is the organ, although piano would also be fitting if an organ is not available.

God Has Work for Us to Do »

Though there are other settings of this Carl P. Daw hymn available, the tune composed by Mark Miller is the most ideal. Found in the collection, Roll Down, Justice!, the text calls us to continued work in ministry as a response to God’s calling. The lilting melody is easy to teach and learn, and purchasing the collection allows copying of congregational song sheets to include in the worship bulletin. A choral version of the work, along with a more complex piano accompaniment, is also available here ». The ideal accompaniment is piano.

Sois la Semilla (You Are the Seed) [UMH 583]

Cesareo Gabaraín has created a beautiful song that sings of the presence of Christ in each of us. By using images of the seed, dawn, flame, and life, we sing of the fruits of ministry by working to gather in the harvest. These images are especially rich when sung as a means of spurring us to live what we pray in the world. The imperative is given to “go to the world” and “be a loyal witness,” so sing this song of sending forth confidently, knowing the mission field that lies ahead. The tune itself allows a number of ways to accompany, including piano, organ, guitar, percussion, or a combination of all of the above. The most important part of singing this song is keeping the tempo lively enough to fit four measures in each musical phrase. This is a song of celebration, so don’t turn it into a dirge! Read History of Hymns: "Sois la Semilla (You Are the Seed)" »

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes Second Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Third Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Transfiguration of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes Second Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Third Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes Transfiguration of the Lord 2018 — Planning Notes