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Proper 16B

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


The Old Testament and Psalm both explore the place where we worship God and Let us build a house (CH 198) and All people living on the earth (WGRG) are both wonderful upbeat opening songs which invite us to engage with these. Christ is made the sure foundation (CH 200 / MP 73) and Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (CH 201 / MP 529) are classic hymns which also links to these themes while some options for bands could be Wonderful (CCLI), Worship the Lord (Psalm 100) (Resound) or You’re calling us / Call the seeker (STF 37 / CCLI).


The setting of the psalm from the Scottish Psalter, How lovely is thy dwelling-place (CH 52), is an excellent combination of lyrics and music for the first five verses. For those who prefer contemporary language other metrical options could be Lovely is your earthly dwelling (GIA) or In your presence (Grace), although I would be tempted to use Joel or Lewis Folk Melody as the tune for the latter. Better is one day / How lovely is your dwelling place (PFAS 84B / MP 1287 / CCLI) or One thing I ask (CH 199 / MP 913 / CCLI) are both good options for bands even if they are a couple of decades old now.


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.

There are a number of classic hymns which use the imagery from the Epistle, including Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51), Soldiers of Christ arise (CH 515 / MP 604) and the Lutheran chorale A safe stronghold our God is still (CH 454 / MP 2) while O church arise (MP 1213 / CCLI / Getty) is a contemporary alternative to these. Everlasting God / Strength will rise (CCLI) would be a more general reflection on finding strength in God without the militaristic imagery and on that theme you could also consider short songs such as Stand O stand firm (WGRG) or Goodness is stronger than evil (WGRG).

The Old Testament passage today leads us to explore where God dwells and where we worship God. Let us build a house (CH 198) and You’re calling us (STF 37 / CCLI) have both been suggested as gathering songs above but could also respond to this passage, with Build this house (CCLI) another option for bands. The most recent Wild Goose album also has two songs which explore this theme, the energetic In Christ we live (WGRG) and What is this place? (WGRG) which is better suited as a reflective piece for a soloist or choir.


As the concluding section of the Epistle, the passage from Ephesians has a sense of call to it which works for a sending and Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51) or O church arise (MP 1213 / CCLI / Getty) suggested above would both be good closing songs. You could also use songs which speak of faith in the power of God such as Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (CH 130 / MP 784), Build my life (CCLI) and There's nothing that our God can't do (CCLI) while Murassala (WGRG / H 82) from South Sudan would give a more missional focus as it picks up the final verse with a call for us all to be ambassadors of Jesus.

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