Easter 2B

Acts 4:32-35

Psalm 133

1 John 1:1-2:2

John 20:19-31


You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


There are far too many wonderful Easter songs to include them all on one day so make the most of the full season and consider using songs you may not have sung on Easter Sunday. Come, you faithful, raise the strain (CH 414 / MP 103) and This joyful Eastertide (CH 415) would both be excellent well known hymns to open with. Great things (CCLI) would also work well as a general Easter season opening song while King of Kings (CCLI) would pick up some of the themes from the readings about darkness and light and being called to receive the Spirit. One church, one voice (Satellite) is always a good opening song and would relate to the unity that is a theme in Acts and in the Psalm while also picking up some of the doubt of Thomas. Humbly in your sight (CH 496) could also link to the Gospel, both in the call for Jesus to be present, but also in the reference to the different senses. If you used any of the more contemporary hymns on Easter Sunday such as Christ is alive, and the universe must celebrate (CH 422), Away with gloom, away with doubt (CH 418), Earth, earth, awake; your praises sing (CH 420) or Christ was raised (Resound) it could also be worth considering repeating them to help them become part of your congregation’s repertoire.



Word


There aren’t many settings of Psalm 133 but Miren qué bueno / How good it is when God’s will is done (CH 90) has become a very popular song ecumenically written in an Argentinian folk style. How very good and pleasant (PFAS 133C) is a chorus with a light gospel feel that’s better known in North America than the UK but would be easy to pick up and you could repeat a few times. How good and beautiful (Scheer) has a fairly robust folk feel with an interesting harmonic shift between the chorus and verses. If you want to sing the psalm responsorially then How good it is (Scheer) would work well as a refrain.



Response


You may have used the first few verses of O sons and daughters, let us sing (CH 431) last week and vv.1,5-8 pick up on the story in this week’s Gospel. There is also an alternative translation of this hymn, My daughters and my sons hear, tell (Hymnary), which can be sung to the same tune. There are various songs which explore when we have doubts such as How often we like Thomas (CH 432) and Have mercy (link) with its second verse of “Oh help my unbelief”. Listening God, you hear us when we cannot speak (STF 524) and Now the green blade riseth (CH 417) both reference the touch of Christ as important in times of trouble and are both set to the same tune. The other angle to look at would be songs which are more focused on faith such as True faith needs no defence (MV 139) and By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty), with the line “We’ll walk by faith and not by sight” particularly relevant. Listen to the words (Peace be with you) (Resound) is a really simple call and response using the words of Jesus in v21 and you could also link into this verse using a blessing song such as The peace of the earth be with you (CH 798) or May you find peace (Fischy).


The passage in Acts has a wonderfully political message about holding wealth in community rather than in private hands which very few songs are brave enough to tackle! Community of Christ (Hope) speaks into this (with the line “our currency be love” a nice poetic angle) as well as resonating strongly with parts of the Easter story. Like fireworks in the night (CH 584) is more of a Pentecost hymn but the second verse is very suitable here while Come with me, come wander / Sing hey for the carpenter (WGRG / STF 462) explores this in the context of Jesus calling his disciples.


The Epistle explores the theme of light in the darkness which is a rich theme for songwriters. The line “walk in the light” will immediately make many people think of The Spirit lives to set us free (MP 664) or Siyahamba / We are marching in the light of God (CH 516 / MP 954). Great are you Lord (CCLI) would be a good worship song for exploring this theme, Christ is the world’s true light (CH 456) an option for an older hymn, and Praise the One who breaks the darkness (CH 348) a more contemporary hymn.



Sending


There are a couple of hymns which tie into the Gospel story which could work as closing songs. Christ has risen while earth slumbers (CH 430) can be sung to Blaenwern or Hyfrydol if the tune is unfamiliar while The risen Christ who walks on wounded feet (link) can be sung to Woodlands (you could also use this earlier in the service in which case the tune Upper Room is worth considering for a more reflective feel). As with the opening song, you could also use some general Easter hymns which speak into themes across all the readings such as To God be the glory (CH 512 / MP 708), The power of the cross (MP 1217 / CCLI / Getty), This is amazing grace (CCLI), or Christ is alive! Let Christians sing (CH 416).




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