Proper 21B / 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22

Psalm 124

James 5:13-20

Mark 9:38-50


In 2021 this Sunday occurs during Creation Time and suggestions for songs which can be used to complement or substitute for the lectionary based material can be found here. You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.



Gathering


There is a broad theme this week of faith in God in challenging situations so general songs about faith and trust in God could be a good way to begin and there are a whole range of options including classic hymns such as Great is thy faithfulness (CH 153 / MP 200) and Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation (CH 124) to a couple of more recent songs from Scottish songwriters, such as Give thanks to God (CCLI) with it’s refrain of “His never ending love is steadfast and sure” and Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite) which has us praising God in the good and the bad times of life. The Epistle also offers an invitation to prayer which could be be picked up in songs such as Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (CH 201 / MP 529) and Jesus calls us here to meet him (CH 510).



Word


CH4 offers us two paraphrases of today’s psalm, both set to the wonderful Genevan Reformation tune Old 124th, with Now Israel may say, and that truly (CH 84) well suited to congregations who prefer older translations of scripture, while Now let’s God’s people, let God’s Israel (CH 85) offers more contemporary language. Bands could use either He's on our side (Kimbrough) or the folky If God had not been on our side (Scheer). The latter can be linked with Our help (Scheer) with this also being an option if you want to sing the psalm responsorially.



Response


The Gospel perhaps best leads to songs about the sacrifices we are willing to make for Christ, so you could use songs such as Will you come and follow me (CH 533), I will offer up my life (CH 503 / MP 990 / CCLI) or Jesus you have called us (Resound) while the short chant The kingdom of God is justice and peace (Taizé) could also tie in.


O Lord, may all we do and say (Carolyn) would be a great hymn to link to the Epistle as it explores the whole book of James and is set to Tallis’ Canon. Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire (CH 546) and Lord, teach us how to pray aright (CH 545) are two songs about prayer by the Ayrshire born hymnwriter James Montgomery. You could also consider short songs such as If you believe and I believe (CH 771), O Lord, hear my prayer (GIA / Hymnary) or Come, bring your burdens to God / Woza nomthwalo wakho (WGRG) which could be used a standalone songs to respond to the text while the latter two could also be used as prayer responses.


There aren’t many songs explicitly about Esther but Give thanks for those that dared oppose (link), sung to St Magnus, would link well while There is a line of women (WGRG), sung to the Seven joys of Mary, explores the important roles played by women in the Bible including Esther. You could also use songs about God being there for us in the hard times of life such as God of freedom, God of justice (CH 263), O God, our help in ages past (CH 161 / MP 498) or the beautiful Tamil song Saranam (CH 573).



Sending


All of the readings speak of our need to have faith in God and a final song could be a place to sing about that with a range of contemporary options such as By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty), This I believe(The Creed) (CCLI) and Cornerstone (CCLI) while classic hymns you could use include All my hope on God is founded (CH 192 / MP 16), What a friend we have in Jesus (CH 547 / MP 746) or One more step along the world I go (CH 530 / MP 1346).

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