Season of Creation Worship Series — PLANTING SUNDAY: Good Beginnings
September 2, 2018
The following selections are congregational songs (most of which are chosen from this week’s Hymn Suggestions) with notes on key, tempo, and instrumentation, along with some practical and creative considerations in singing.
Source: Songs of Zion, 191
Recommended Key: D♭
Tempo: 60-76 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or gospel rhythm section/band
Notes: This work by Margaret Pleasant Douroux (well known for “Give Me a Clean Heart,” among other works) would be a great possibility as a theme song throughout the Season of Creation. You will notice the range in tempo is quite wide to accommodate the balance of authentic and contextual performance practice. The link in the resources below is to a video of Minister Keith Pringle and the Pentecostal Community Choir, which is a slow, driving setting of this song. Should you choose to use this in your setting on this day or throughout the season, we advocate singing “the God who made the trees” and “the life God wants me to live.”
Resources: Watch a Songs of Zion YouTube video »
Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 164
Recommended Key: C minor
Tempo: 120-126 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, guitar with hand drum or tambourine
Notes: Because of the renaissance influence on this tune (modal harmonies, as with the insertion of the Bb minor chord in the opening chord progression), there are various possibilities and approaches to the instrumental accompaniment. The style can range from lush, legato phrases with the organ to more of a dance quality with guitar (a la lute) and percussion. The vocal line is very easy to sing and is in a comfortable range. If this tune is not optimal for your context, other possibilities for the tune are CANTERBURY or ORIENTIS PARTIBUS.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Come, My Way, My Truth, My Life" »
Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 175
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 124-132 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: This lilting hymn creates a sense of hopeful longing in the pairing of text and tune. ST. AGNES has a certain sentimental quality to the melody that is tied to the third and fourth measures of the first phrase. The tune is fourteen measures long, which divided in equal halves equals two seven-measure phrases. This might feel a little unfinished in each phrase, so if that is your same conclusion, feel free to add another measure after the existing seventh and fourteenth measures and hold the dotted-half note one more measure. Whatever way seems appropriate in your context is acceptable.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee" »
The Gift of Love
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 408
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 56-60 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, guitar, with possible wind/string descants
Notes: One of the gentlest ways to sing this hymn is accompanied by an arpeggiated guitar and a flute or violin. You may find other ways to experiment with the instrumentation, which is fairly easy on this hymn because of the simple nature of the diatonic chord progression. Make sure the song leader(s) or choir crescendo on the held notes to keep the melody from becoming stagnant. In addition, build to the third phrase as the climax of each stanza.
Resources: History of Hymns: "The Gift of Love" »
Morning Has Broken
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 145
Recommended Key: C
Tempo: 124-132 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, guitar, with possible string/wind descants
Notes: The focus on creation makes this an easy choice, especially considering the fruits of spring and the images of Eden and how we catch glimpses of God’s creativity and abundance today. If you are able to have a treble instrument accompanying, have it double the melody or play some of the harmony notes up an octave in the treble clef.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Morning Has Broken" »
Call to Worship (Easter) incorporating "Morning Has Broken" »