Updated: Jul 15, 2021
You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.
The Epistle speaks of the different roles everyone plays in the church and that can begin by offering everyone an open invitation to join in worship together. Here in this place / Gather us in (CH 623), Let us build a house (CH 198) and Jesus calls us here to meet him (CH 510) all speak of the diversity of those called together by Jesus while Together (link) is a song about being brought together in worship with family, neighbours and rivals. Come now is the time to worship (CH 196 / MP 1040) has the invitation to “come just as you are” while One church, one voice (Satellite), with its wonderfully easy but catchy refrain, has a repeated call for oneness in each verse which links directly to Ephesians.
If you would like to sing a full metrical setting of the psalm then either O God, be gracious to me in your love (CH 40) or God be merciful to me (Grace) are good options. There are also a number of songs which pick up particularly on v10 such as Create in me a clean heart O God (PFAS 51F), Create in me (CCLI) and Change my heart, O God (PFAS 51A / CCLI). This is a good psalm for singing responsorially as many congregations will know at least one setting of a Kyrie. CH4 offers three contrasting options which are all easy to pick up with James MacMillan’s Lord, have mercy (CH 648), the Ukranian Orthodox Kyrie eleison (CH 776) and John Bell’s call and response Kyrie eleison (CH 777). This is also a great chance to learn a song from other parts of the world and Khudaayaa, raeham kar (WGRG / PFAS 51G) Ya Tuhanke (WGRG) are from Pakistan and Indonesia, places we rarely sing songs from. Both can be sung in English but try to imitate the slides on the recording of the first which is an important part of the style. The chorus of Kyrie eleison, have mercy (MP 1321 / Townend) would suit worship bands well while Lord have mercy (Resound) would suit a variety of instrumentations.
There are a few weeks in a row where the Gospel focuses on the theme of Jesus as the bread of life and Jesus the Lord said, I am the bread (MP 384) and Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (CH 167 / MP 201) would be some well known options which link to this. There are some great post-Vatican II communion songs which you could use such as Bread of life (CH 663), Jesus, you are the bread we long for (OCP) and You satisfy the hungry heart (CH 671) and if you’re not celebrating communion you can just use the chorus and/or selected verses. With a few weeks of the same theme there’s an opportunity to introduce something less familiar and repeat it and songs worth exploring include All who hunger, gather gladly (GIA) (which could also be sung to Holy Manna), Living bread (Resound), We come to hear your word (Resound) and The risen Christ (CCLI). There are also two songs from Asia I find interesting, Food for pilgrim people (GSW 50 / STB 290) with a beautiful yearning pentatonic melody, and Rice of life (STB 190 / GIA) which contextualises John 6 for countries where rice rather than bread is the staple food.
The Epistle has a focus on unity and One Lord (GIA) is a great option for exploring the theme of oneness in the Epistle, with a chorus that would be easy to pick up and verses that can be taken by soloists or a choir. Well known songs which also pick up this theme are Bind us together Lord (MP 54) or the alternative version of Spirit of the living God (CH 620) by Michael Baughen. Some other songs worth exploring could be We believe in one God (Unshakeable) (Resound) or Trinity Song (CCLI) which is a simple round. One is the body (CH 679) or You’re not alone (link) would link to the section about the church being like a body with different gifts.
The Old Testament passage is the conclusion of last week’s challenging story with A woman named Bathsheba (Carolyn) recapping what happened and concluding with confession in the final verse. Another option would be to use any of the Kyries or songs linking to Psalm 51:10 which are mentioned above.
In Christ there is no east or west (CH 624 / MP 329) are classic options for this while We are one in the Spirit (SGP 111) may be another old favourite for some that hasn’t made it into recent hymnbooks. Some more contemporary options could be Build your kingdom here (CCLI), Make us one (CCLI), A house united (CCLI) or Draw the circle wide (MV 145 / link).