• Iain McLarty

Easter 5B

Acts 8:26-40

Psalm 22:25-31

1 John 4:7-21

John 15:1-8


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



Gathering


The verses from today’s Psalm are a call for us to worship God who rules over all things. You can build on this with songs such as In the presence of your people (CH 121 / MP 341), The Lord is King lift up your voice (CH 129) and Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (CH 130 / MP 784). Psalm 22 (This is the story I will tell) (CCLI) would work well as a gathering song and would be easy to pick up the chorus, with the Hallelujahs fitting in well with the Easter season.


Apart from that it is still good to explore seasonal Easter songs like Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to heaven and voices raise (CH 427), Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord (MP 30), The day of resurrection (CH 413), Great things (CCLI) and Praise the King (CCLI). 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


While the well known opening verses of Psalm 22 are a lament, vv.22-31 are a hymn of praise so it’s important to look for songs based on these verses. Two of the songs suggested above could both be used, either In the Presence of Your People (CH 121 / MP 341) or Psalm 22 (This is the story I will tell) (CCLI). You could also use the last six verses of Psalm 22 (CCLI / PCE) sung to Picardy. All earth to Him shall homage bring (Grace) could work for a band in a folky style with the harmony in the verses quite typical of Scottish folk music. It’s chorus could also work to sing the psalm responsorially, as would All the ends of the earth (PFAS 22D).



Response


The Gospel reading has the strong image of the vine and the branches and this is picked up in Like the murmur of the dove’s song (CH 592), along with two songs with the same name; I am the vine (Hope) by Shirley Erena Murray really explores the metaphor to the full while I am the vine (WGRG) by John Bell has a beautiful chorus which would be simple to join in with but probably needs a choir or cantor for the verses. The other striking part of this passage is the line “if you abide in me…” and again there are two songs with the same name you could use to connect to this with Abide (CCLI) by Aaron Williams and Abide (CCLI) by Housefires.


These latter two songs could also relate to the Epistle, which continues on the theme from last week of love for one another. Love one another (WGRG) is a paraphrase of this passage with an upbeat chorus while Love is the touch of intangible joy (CH 115) explores different angles of where we see love. You could also consider some of short songs suggested last week such as Ubi caritas (CH 801), Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love (Hope) and He came down that we may have love (CH 359).


With the passage from Acts you could look at the inclusion of all believers with songs such as Let us build a house where love can dwell (CH 198) (omitting v3 if not celebrating communion) or the lively Draw the circle wide (MV 145 / link). Another angle would be songs about baptism and We know that Christ is raised and dies no more (CH 635) and Now through the grace of God we claim (CH 637) and would both be good songs for exploring this in the Easter season.



Sending


Christian unity is a possible theme to finish with which connects with all of the readings to some degree or other. In Christ there is no east or west (CH 624 / MP 329) and it’s message of “one great fellowship of love” would be a classic option here while Sent forth by God’s blessing (link) and Sisters and brothers with one voice (WGRG) are both new words to well known tunes. You could also pick up the theme of God’s love and our call to love one another with songs such as Build my life (CCLI) (“I will build my life upon your love”) and Build your kingdom here (CCLI) (“Fill us with the strength and love of Christ”). We sing a love that sets all people free (CH 622) or or God loved the world so much (WGRG recording and lyrics) would be options set to well known hymns tunes for this.


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