Easter 7B

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Psalm 1

1 John 5:9-13

John 17:6-19


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



Gathering


This is the Sunday after Ascension Day so it would be very appropriate to begin with songs which celebrate this and call us to worship with well known options including The Lord is King lift up your voice (CH 129 / MP 656), Rejoice! the Lord is King (CH 449 / MP 575), Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (CH 470 / MP 379) and My Jesus, my Saviour / Shout to the Lord (CH 531 / MP 1003 / CCLI). Christ triumphant, ever reigning (CH 436 / MP 77) is a fabulous contemporary hymn that is well worth introducing if your congregation don’t know it. I have some reservations about how large the range is (two octaves) for a congregation in All hail King Jesus (CCLI) but it does a good job in taking us on a journey from Easter to Ascension and the different musical sections are all strong and catchy. Clap your hands, all you nations (PFAS 47D / GSW) is a joyous setting of Psalm 47 (which was the psalm for Ascension Day) from West Africa which would be very easy to pick up.



Word


How blest are those who do not stray (CH 1) is a good metrical paraphrase of the psalm while Happy is the one (WGRG) would be an alternative option. There are also two interesting songs from other parts of the world. Happy are they who walk in God’s wise way (PFAS 1C / STB 87) from Thailand is set to a beautiful pentatonic melody and can be accompanied by finger cymbals and drum for an authentic sound. May this church be like a tree / Que esta iglesia sea un árbol (GIA) by the Argentinian composer Pablo Sosa isn’t a paraphrase but relates to v3 and asks that the church may be like a tree growing by the living water which flows from God. It would be best suited to a soloist singing the verses and the congregation joining in with the chorus, potentially even in Spanish!



Response


Where is the one our God will choose (Jubilate) tells the story from Acts of Matthias being chosen to replace Judas. You could also look at songs about leadership in the church and different roles we are called to by God in One is the body (CH 679), Ye that know the Lord is gracious (CH 642) and You are called to tell the story (CH 680).


The Epistle focuses on the testimony of God through Jesus and the eternal life we gain and He is Lord, he is Lord (CH 443) would tie this together well and also put it in the context of the Easter season and the Ascension. You could also use a song which gives a credal statement such as This I believe (The Creed) (CCLI), We believe in one God (Unshakeable) (Resound) or We believe: Maranatha (STB) from Asia which is a spoken text with an easy sung response in parts. Some more general songs which could also work would include How deep the Father’s love for us (CH 549 / MP 988 / Townend) and I greet thee, who my sure Redeemer art (CH 455).


The Gospel text is difficult to find songs for that are very explicitly connected so the most appropriate response will probably depend more on the lens you read this through. The head that once was crowned with thorns (CH 438 / MP 647) could connect into it as an Ascensiontide text while All my hope on God is founded (CH 192) or When God speaks (Satellite) could relate to some of the broader themes about faith in God and being given God’s word. Thuma mina (CH 800) is a very short chant which picks up Jesus’ words in v18 that he has sent us into the world.



Sending


There are lots of good Ascension songs to finish with including rousing classics such as Crown him with many crowns (CH 459 / MP 109), Shine, Jesus, shine (CH 448 / MP 445), At the name of Jesus (CH 458 / MP 41) and All hail the power of jesus’ name (CH 457 / MP 13) while King of kings majesty (MP 1000 / CCLI) starts more gently but is still a powerful closing song. Across the lands (MP 1141 / CCLI / Getty) is one of the less well known Getty/Townend songs but would fit very well, as would the short chant of For yours is the Kingdom (WGRG).


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