Season of Creation Worship Series — MOUNTAIN SUNDAY: Protection and Care
September 9, 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 »
Children of the Heavenly Father
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 141
Recommended Key: D
Tempo: 72-78 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, or guitar
Notes: This simple song sings like a lullaby, with reassuring words of comfort and protection. If your congregation has not sung this one (and even if they have), it might be appropriate for it to be led by children. Adding a solo treble instrument will also enhance the musical texture.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Children of the Heavenly Father" (Hawn) »
History of Hymns: "Children of the Heavenly Father" (Bjorlin) »
Goodness Is Stronger than Evil
Source: The Faith We Sing, 2219
Recommended Key: D
Tempo: 66-70 bpm
Instrumentation: A cappella with percussion, organ, or piano
Notes: This energetic, short, cyclic song from the Iona Community incorporates text from An African Prayer Book, and thus it seems appropriate to sing in this style a cappella, with djembes, shakers, and other percussion instruments. It is also possible to sing it with organ or piano. Keep the tempo steady, and it will turn into a rousing chorus of God’s justice!
I Will Trust in the Lord
Source: Songs of Zion, 14; The United Methodist Hymnal, 464
Recommended Key: F-G
Tempo: 100-108 bpm
Instrumentation: a cappella or piano
Notes: This song is a song of commitment—one in which the congregation verbally puts trust in God. A series of questions follows where we ask one another just how sure we are about this. It would be appropriate to either let the questions linger, or to reprise stanza one with a rousing chorus of the declarative statement, “I will trust in the Lord.” Let the eighth notes swing, and keep the tempo steady. Vocal improvisation is also encouraged if someone is able in your context, but don’t forsake the congregation by improvising too much if you don’t have a choir. Make sure your attention is on helping the congregation sing first, then use your judgment about how much to improvise.
Climbin’ Up d’ Mountain
Source: Songs of Zion, 120
Recommended Key: A♭
Tempo: 92-96 bpm
Instrumentation: a cappella
Notes: God’s deliverance is recalled in this song, which offers hope even today. As with all spirituals, the preferred performance practice is to sing a cappella, which is made more accessible if you have a choir who can do so. However, if you do not have a choir, it is also possible to sing the melody in unison.
Shout to the Lord
Source: The Faith We Sing, 2074
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 68-72 bpm
Instrumentation: Full band, piano, solo guitar
Notes: The pew edition of The Faith We Sing does not include the verse of this modern song, which is disappointing because so many churches are familiar with the song in its entirety. The verses can be found in the Singer’s Edition, or you can (with the appropriate licensing–CCLI or other means–of course) reprint the words for your congregation. The chorus recalls the grandeur of God’s creation and Jesus’ place as Lord of all creation.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Shout to the Lord" »
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 110
Recommended Key: C
Tempo: 96-102 bpm
Notes:Martin Luther’s epic hymn illustrates the nature of God as a protector, whose “kingdom is forever.” Sing this hymn with gusto, and pull out all the stops on the organ by the singing of the last stanza. An arrangement on Luther’s original tune, which is quite energetic and vivacious, can be found in The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement, as can a descant to accompany the hymn.
Resources: History of Hymns: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" »
View and download a simplified accompaniment »