Contemporary Suggestions for Easter and Pentecost
Songs of Spirit and Joy:
We Arise by Michael Mahler (www.giamusic.com) is an Easter song of thanksgiving to God, celebrating the joy of the resurrection day. The song works best with three sing- ers (soprano, alto, tenor) who enjoy singing tight harmonies. Due to the driving groove beat, solid percussion is essential, and saxophone is a great addition if available.
Let All Creation Sing Alleluia! by Paul Tate (www.wlp.jspaluch.com) is a fresh setting of the traditional hymn text, All Creatures of Our God and King. The call and response style of the refrain and verses allow for easy participation of the assembled during praise sessions.
On the Third Sunday of Easter, invite your praise band and children’s choir to play and sing for traditional worship. FishWith Me by Ken Canedo (www.spiritandsong.com), which connects with the Lectionary Gospel, provides a kid-friendly refrain that your children’s choir will love singing. Encourage your children to develop hand motions with the refrain, of leaving behind their nets to follow Jesus.
For communion services, Come to the Table by Tony Alonso (www.giamusic.com) will become a new favorite for your church. This piece works throughout the church year, with verses for Advent, Lent, andWeddings.
If your church is preparing youth for confirmation, consider planning a song that all confirmands can sing together before making their affirmation of faith. Holy Spirit by Ken Canedo (www.spiritandsong.com) provides an easily accessible refrain that all confirmands can memorize in one rehearsal, with opportunities for solos or duets on the verses. This song is effective with piano alone, or with a full praise band.
Finally, consider planning one musical element that remains the same for all the Sun- days of Easter or Pentecost to unify that particular season. During the season of Pen- tecost, the refrain of Go Out and Tell by Bobby Fisher (www.spiritandsong.com) is the perfect way to close worship each week. This song will have your congregation danc- ing out the door, ready to spread the Gospel throughout the world.
“Over the Grave” by Sojourn Community Church Heather Josselyn-Cranson
Sojourn is a congregation in Louisville, Kentucky, which began ten years ago. The members of the church write much of their own music, and this creativity latched on to the depth of IsaacWatt’s legacy with “Over the Grave.” On that album, various song- writers and musicians from the congregation borrowed, adapted, and explored eleven Watts texts to create songs of faith, question, and redemption.
The album is worth its price for the boldness and brilliance of this premise alone. Watts, as a Congregational hymn writer more than 250 years ago, explored themes both familiar and strange for contemporary Evangelicals: human sinfulness, God’s majestic creation, our duty to praise, the coming victory of Christ, despair at God’s seeming inaction, and the righteous anger of God. How marvelous that these themes, and the hymn texts that wrestle with them, should be uncovered and re- used! Although many listeners might be familiar with the words of “Alas and did my
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