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Proper 26C / 21st Sunday after Pentecost

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


The psalm can offer us a gathering theme as we praise God’s faithfulness and righteousness with classic hymns such as Great is thy faithfulness (CH 153 / MP 200) and All people that on earth do dwell (CH 63 / MP 20) or contemporary songs in various styles such as O God, you are my God alone (CH 43), God of the Bible (Fresh as the morning) (MV 28 / GIA / Hope) and Every promise (CCLI / Getty). You could also consider a couple of more recent songs from Scottish songwriters, Give thanks to God (CCLI) with its refrain of “His never ending love is steadfast and sure” and Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite).


There are two reasonable metrical options for today’s psalm, which is the eighteenth part of Psalm 119. Lord, You Are Righteous (Grace) is written for Schönster Herr Jesu while Sincerity and righteousness (PCE / CCLI) is written for Tallis’ Ordinal and there are lots of alternatives for this such as Kilmarnock or St Magnus. Interestingly, the latter is part of an attempt to write an acrostic version of the psalm in English, so every second line begins with ‘s’. I long for your commandments (Hymnary) is another option as it attempts to bring together themes from across the whole of the psalm.


The first thought for many people with today’s Gospel reading is likely to be the Sunday School chorus Zacchaeus was a very little man (Hymnary). Some more general songs which capture the themes of following Jesus and of the need to give up our possessions include Jesus Christ is waiting (CH 360), Jesus you have called us (Resound), Will you come and follow me (CH 533), Lord, you have come to the seashore (CH 532) amd Simple living (MP 1251 / CCLI / Townend). You also could look at songs about how Jesus transforms our lives such as Just as I am, without one plea (CH 553 / MP 396), Change my heart O God (MP 69 / CCLI) and Your love changes everything (CCLI).

Rejoice in God’s saints, today and all days (CH 742) would link well to the Epistle and celebrating those in the church who have been steadfast and faithful to God’s calling while Who would true valour see (CH 535 / MP 224) focuses on the life of a Christian pilgrim and can link well to v4 where the Thessalonians are said to have faced persecutions and affilictions.

Song of the Prophets (CCLI / Hymnary) is a great hymn for exploring different prophets by singing the appropriate verses (use verses 1, 13 and 18 to fit this week) and can be sung to Kingsfold. The reading from Habakkuk has both a cry of complaint to God and a call to have faith and songs such as Sometimes our only song is weeping (GIA), Look on my heart, O Lord of light and dark (Jubilate) and How long, O Lord, will you forget (CH 7) are powerful texts which capture this. You could also focus on the vision in v3 with Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51), O God of every nation (Hope), which could be sung to Aurelia if you don’t know Llangloffan, or ‘I have a dream’, a man once said (CH 710).


The Gospel is a good sending passage as we can reflect on turning our lives around and following the way of Jesus with songs such as We have heard a joyful sound (CH 249), I, the Lord of sea and sky (CH 251), Amazing grace (CH 555 / MP 31) or it’s popular Chris Tomlin version Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (MP 1151 / CCLI). Ewe thina / We walk his way (WGRG) from South Africa is always a great short song to end with while some other worship songs to consider include Yes and amen (CCLI) and Free amen (CCLI).

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