Easter 4C

Updated: Apr 25

Acts 9:36-43

Psalm 23

Revelation 7:9-17

John 10:22-30


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



Gathering


Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (CH 130 / MP 784) or All heaven declares (CH 426 / MP 14 / CCLI) would be options for an opening song which fit the Easter season while picking up the themes from Revelation. You could also consider other Easter songs which would link to themes from the readings such as The day of resurrection! (CH 413), I know that my Redeemer lives (CH 423) and Alleluia! Jesus is risen! (CH 429).


As suggested throughout the Easter season, 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 repeating them to help them become part of your congregation’s repertoire.




Word


You can be guaranteed to start a heated debate in the Church of Scotland if you ask what the right tune is for singing Psalm 23. This isn’t even a simple split between congregations as you will find a mix of strongly held views within congregations. The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want, the lyrics for Psalm 23 from the Scottish Psalter, sung to Crimond (CH 14) and Brother James’ Air (CH 16) are probably the most widely known while The Lord’s my shepherd (MP 1008 / PFAS 23F / CCLI / Townend) has become a modern classic. Wiltshire (CH 14) and Orlington (CH 15) are both excellent tunes for these lyrics as well and suit congregations who sing in parts, although it is always confusing that they start with the same four notes.


With so many well known tunes it would be easy not to look at other options but there are lots of wonderful settings in a whole range of styles including His love is my resting place (Kimbrough) which has a light country feel and was written as a response to the pandemic, the Victorian hymn The King of love my shepherd is (CH 462), the well known round The Lord is my shepherd, I’ll walk with him always (Hymnary / PFAS 23K) and a beautiful pentatonic Indonesian song My shepherd Lord, with flute so true of tone (STB 291). The Lord is my shepherd (CH 17) and Shepherd me, O God (PFAS 23H / GIA) are both lovely responsorial settings if you have a choir or soloist to sing the verses, although you could also use the sung responses with spoken verses.



Response


The gospel reading is obviously linked to the psalm so any of the songs suggested above could be considered. Halle, halle, halle (CH 345) is a well known chorus and the additional verses by Marty Haugen would make this very appropriate if you have a soloist who could sing these. Other songs to consider are Father of peace, and God of love (CH 272) which links Christ as shepherd with the resurrection story, In heavenly love abiding (CH 551 / MP 331) looks at it through a more pastoral lens and Shepherd (CCLI) which gives a sense of a personal response and faith in the Lord.


There are not many songs exploring this part of Acts but you could use more general healing songs such as O Christ the healer we have come (CH 717) and We cannot measure how you heal (CH 718). Go heal the sick (WGRG) is an interesting link as it’s based on Matthew 10 and Jesus’ commission to his disciples to “heal the sick, raise the dead” as they are doing here. Another approach would be to use some of the recent worship songs which focus on the miracles which happen in Jesus’ name such as House of miracles (CCLI) or Miracles happen (CCLI).


Some of the themes in Revelation this week are very similar to last week and so some of the same songs could be considered again. How bright these glorious spirits shine (CH 745) is a paraphrase of the text while the songs of praise to God are used in both classic hymns such as All hail the power of jesus’ name (CH 457 / MP 13) and Glory be to God the Father (CH 110), and worship songs such as All heaven declares (CH 426 / MP 14 / CCLI), Revelation Song (CCLI) and There is a higher throne (MP 1116 / CCLI). In God alone (OCP) is also worth mentioning as it is inspired by this text and based on music from a Spanish hymn (CH 258).



Sending


You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd (CH 355) would be a great song for tying up some of today's themes, as it explores some of the apparent contradictions in today’s readings. An alternative if you have focused on the shepherd theme would be The King of love my shepherd is (CH 462) while O for a thousand tongues, to sing (CH 352 / MP 496) could link to Acts. Otherwise songs which echo the praise from Revelation would be great for sending, such as Go to the world! Go into all the earth (CH 683), For my sake and the gospel’s, go (CH 248) and Worthy is the lamb (MP 1109 / CCLI).


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