Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2018 — Music Notes

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GIVE THANKS  ...In Love Worship Series, week 3
August 19, 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.

There’s a Spirit of Love in This Place

SourceWorship & Song, 3148
Recommended Key: E
Tempo: 60-64 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano, organ, band, or rhythm section
Notes: This song by Mark Miller would make a great theme song for the entire “...In Love” series. Singing this work would be fitting at any point during the worship service, but it would be especially poignant as the last song of an opening worship set to put the language of love and peace on the mouths of the gathered community near the beginning of the service.
Resources: There's a Spirit of Love in This Place Hymn Study »


They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2223
Recommended Key: Em–Fm
Tempo: 92-136 bpm (quarter note)
Instrumentation: Organ, piano, solo guitar, strings, or any band ensemble (rock, jazz, etc.)
Notes: Another option for a theme song for the series, I would wager this is one of the most widely sung works across worship styles throughout the church. The unity expressed in the text and the immediately recognizable tune make this a congregational favorite, even across generational lines. As indicated in the tempo suggestion above, it is possible to sing this in a variety of ways, whether slow or fast, and across genres. Experiment with the accompaniment, and be encouraged to sing boldly!


Give Thanks

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2036; Zion Still Sings, 127
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 108-112 bpm, although a slower tempo is possible
Instrumentation: Piano, band, guitar, or organ
Notes: “Give Thanks” is a well-known example of older praise and worship music that is considered both timeless and very singable for most, if not all, congregations. A variety of accompaniments are possible, so shape what is needed within your context. The tempo listed above is suggested for an upbeat singing, although a more reflective, slower tempo is also possible for different contexts.


In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2195
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 66 bpm
Instrumentation: Guitar, organ, piano, other accompanying instruments
Notes: This song from the Taizé Community in France allows for a voice of thankfulness to be offered in a repetitive, cyclic prayer. Parts for a variety of instruments can be found in the accompaniment edition of The Faith We Sing. Sing this chorus as a prayer for the day or even after the sermon or offering (or even during the offering) as a sung act of thanksgiving.


Let All Things Now Living

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2008
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 108-112 bpm
Instrumentation:  Organ or piano
Notes:  THE ASH GROVE is the perfect tune for this hymn as a long enough musical setting to make this two-stanza hymn seem longer (which, in this case, is a good thing!). This hymn is appropriate in worship any time, but may be especially meaningful when celebrating the expansiveness of God’s creation. Do not drag the tempo; keep it moving forward, but not so fast that the words and moving notes become difficult for the congregation.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Let All Things Now Living" »


Thank You, Lord

Source: Songs of Zion, 228; The United Methodist Hymnal, 84
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 46-50 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano, organ, or band
Notes: This gospel chorus must be sung passionately at a slow pace. If using the setting from The United Methodist Hymnal, allow a choir to sing in 4-part harmony to accompany the congregation, and be sure to put space between “thank” and “you,” as written by William Farley Smith, in measure 7. If you have a soloist who is confident with improvisation alongside the congregational singing, encourage her/him to sing a very short introduction every time before the congregation begins singing. Don’t be afraid to use piano, organ, bass, and drums all at the same time to make the singing of this brief chorus authentic and full. This song is very accessible, however, to congregations of all sizes and abilities and should be considered for this act of thanksgiving. The setting in Songs of Zion provides a different accompaniment that might also lead to some creative improvisation!
Resources: View and download the Thank You, Lord Lead Sheet »


I Thank You, Jesus

Source: Zion Still Sings, 124; Worship & Song, 3037
Recommended Key: G
Tempo: 82-88 bpm (dotted quarter)
Instrumentation: Piano, organ, or rhythm section
Notes: This rousing hymn from Zion Still Sings and Worship & Song has quickly become a favorite in many congregations and serves as an effective expression of thanksgiving. The repeated text, “You brought me from a mighty long way,” is a sung Ebenezer of sorts and echoes to numerous Scriptures of God’s deliverance, including 1 Samuel 7:12 and 2 Samuel 7:18. Be sure not to sing this hymn too fast. Allow the music to swing, which can easily be done in this 12/8 meter. Any number of instruments can accompany this selection, including organ, piano, drums, bass, and electric guitar.
Resources: I Thank You, Jesus Hymn Study »


When Words Alone Cannot Express

Source: Worship & Song, 3012
Recommended Key: E
Tempo: 72-76 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: This brilliant text by John Thornburg channels the spirit of Fred Pratt Green (author of “When In Our Music God Is Glorified”) in a rousing hymn of praise and thanksgiving, even in the midst of trying circumstances and adversity. This hymn has the ability to express the joy and pain of the human condition and our need to give thanks through it all.
Resources: History of Hymns: "When Words Alone Cannot Express" »