Proper 26B / 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Ruth 1:1-18

Psalm 146

Hebrews 9:11-14

Mark 12:28-34


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



Gathering


The psalm calls us to sing praise to the Lord our whole life long and you could echo this in songs such as Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation (CH 124), Praise, I will praise you, Lord / Je louerai l’Éternel (CH 175) or Uyai mose / Come all you people (CH 757). There are a huge range of worship songs on this theme but a few that are particularly worth considering are Let everything (Praise the Lord) (CCLI), From life’s beginning / Let praise resound (Resound) and Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite).



Word


The most famous version of Psalm 146 is probably Isaac Watts’ I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath (PFAS 146A / Hymnary) while Come praise the Lord with all our lives (Grace) is a good alternative metrical option. Put not your hope in the nation (Kimbrough) would be great for bands while the Psalm Project from the Netherlands have two versions of this psalm, I will sing out and Praise the Lord with joyful noises (sheet music in English / recording in Dutch). I will praise the Lord (GIA) is a good responsorial option and you could have a soloist or choir sing the verses or just use the refrain itself and have the verses spoken.



Response


The Gospel invites us to sing songs about loving God and loving our neighbour with Love is the touch of intangible joy (CH 115), Let our vocation be love (GIA) and I will sing a song of love (WGRG) some great contemporary hymns to explore. There are also a few short songs that would link to this such as Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love (Hope) and He came down that we may have love (CH 359). Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly (CCLI) would pick up the theme of loving your neighbour from v.31 while Love the Lord your God with all your heart (link) picks up v.30.


The Epistle continues its focus on Jesus as a high priest and songs from previous weeks are still relevant here including Come and praise him, royal priesthood (MP 87), Where high the heavenly temple stands (CH 451), Before the throne of God above (CH 466 / MP 975) and High Priest (CCLI), although the latter is probably more suited to a soloist than a congregation. This is a holy place (New Scottish) was inspired by this week’s passage so is worth considering while Worthy is the lamb (MP 1109 / CCLI) and How great is your love (CCLI) pick up some of the broader themes. Behold the holy Lamb of God (CH 389) is a call and response from Malawi which tells the Good Friday story but vv.1,2 and 5 could be used here.


There have often been a lack of songs about women in the Bible and Ruth is no exception. Born apart in different countries (GIA) is one recent attempt to fill that gap and can be sung to White Rosettes. Wherever you may go (MV 216) and I shall not leave from by your side (GIA) are both based on Ruth’s pledge that she will stay with Naomi in vv.16-17. The latter has an original tune but can also be sung to a more familiar Long Metre tune such as Athchuinge or Soldau (Pavia). God of the women (Carolyn) explores the women in the Bible who answered God’s call, including Ruth.



Sending


A good way to finish would be by singing about how we show the love of God in the world and particularly to our neighbours. As a fire is meant for burning (CH 252) and We sing a love that sets all people free (CH 622) are good contemporary hymns about showing God’s love through our actions while God loved the world so much (WGRG) is an excellent text set to one of the best Sacred Harp melodies with v6 particularly relevant as it picks up the first commandment from the Gospel. Love came down (MP 1237 / CCLI), Build my life (CCLI) and We are one in the Father’s love (CCLI) are good options for worship songs, particularly the latter which ties together themes from all the readings.


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