Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost 2018 — Music Notes

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Mystery Worship Series — DESERTED
October 14, 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.

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

Source: CCLI #6016351
Recommended Key: F
Tempo: 68–74 bpm
Instrumentation: Band, piano, or guitar
Notes: This modern worship song is recommended as a theme song for the “Mystery” series. It contains themes of strength, hope, and blessing in the midst of tribulation; and among many other modern selections, it is widely known. It can be sung as a stand-alone song, as a part of a longer worship set, or the refrain only can be used as a Psalm response.

Dear Lord, for All in Pain

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 458
Recommended Key: E
Tempo: 82–88 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: This short, simple song can be quite effective, especially when the SATB texture of a choir is added with the accompaniment. The song is a prayer, and it must be sung slowly and deliberately. It could also be used in conjunction with any of the prayers that surround it (Nos. 457, 459, 460, or 461) in the hymnal as the accompaniment continues quietly under the spoken prayer. Adding a flute or violin would also add to the overall atmosphere of the singing.

How Long, O Lord

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2209
Recommended Key: Dm
Tempo: 46–50 bpm
Instrumentation: Piano or jazz ensemble (piano, bass, drums, etc.)
Notes: This lament has many creative possibilities as a congregational song accompanied in a jazz style. The song is accessible and fairly easy to sing because of the repetitive phrases. Should you have a trumpeter or saxophonist in your congregation, that person might also enjoy the opportunity to improvise on this chord sequence between stanzas.

Out of the Depths I Cry to You

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 515
Recommended Key: E phrygian (see explanation below)
Tempo: 80–84 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or a cappella
Notes: I have listed E phrygian as the listed key based upon Luther’s original melody. This mode (as opposed to a traditional diatonic–major or minor–scale) is modeled by playing a scale from E to E only on the white keys of the piano. Austin Lovelace’s harmonization is written for a keyboard accompaniment, but a low drone on E and B (either sung or played on an organ), along with a unison melody can also be effective. If your congregation is fortunate enough to have a cello player, this melody would be perfectly played and/or led by that instrument.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Out of the Depths I Cry to You" »

Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Source: Songs of Zion, 179; Come, Let Us Worship, 309; The United Methodist Hymnal, 474
Recommended Key: G–A
Tempo: 52–60 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: Songs of Zion puts this song in Ab, but the other listed collections place it in the key of G. Either is acceptable, and it may depend on the preferred key of your accompanist. The slow nature of the song may seem to make it more appropriate for a soloist, but congregations know and love this song, which is a prayer for God to hold us in times of grief, weakness, and death.
Resources:  History of Hymns: "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" »

Rejoice in God’s Saints

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal, 708
Recommended Key: A
Tempo: 108–116 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: In the midst of a service with a great amount of heaviness, a bit of hope and good news is most appropriate at the end of worship. Offer this hymn to focus on the ways the saints have modeled bold Christian behavior and continue to inspire our witness and ministry.
Resources: History of Hymns: "Rejoice in God's Saints" »

Why Stand So Far Away, My God?

Source: The Faith We Sing, 2180
Recommended Key: Fm
Tempo: 100–108 bpm
Instrumentation: Organ or piano
Notes: This Ruth Duck hymn is a cry of anguish to God on behalf of those who suffer, particularly the poor. In relation to its inclusion this week, if we are like Job, we might suffer and still live righteously. But we are called to stand against evil and oppression of others, and this hymn lifts up the lament on behalf of those suffering. The pairing with MORNING SONG is perfect for the tone of this text. It would take great discernment to determine where this hymn might fit best in worship in your context, but I would recommend somewhere near the sermon, not the beginning or conclusion.