Proper 6A (14th June 2020)

Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7)
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
Romans 5:1-8
Matthew 9:35-10:8, (9-23)


Gathering

The God of Abraham praise (CH 162 / MP 645) would strongly root your worship in the themes of the Genesis story while also picking out themes from other passages. While we are still in the season of Pentecost Come down, O Love Divine (CH 489 / MP 89) would also be appropriate. Hosanna / Praise is rising (MP 1221 / CCLI) is a good general gathering song which also sets up themes from various readings around hope and the coming of the Kingdom.

If you are using the psalm for a call to worship then you could potentially link it with I love you, Lord (CH 770 / MP 287 / CCLI). I wouldn’t call this contemporary since it was written almost 50 years ago, but it still feels fresh and can be adapted to a wide range of styles. It could also work well as part of a set or as a stand alone reflective song elsewhere in the service. You can also find resonances of the psalm in Awake, my soul, and with the sun (CH 210 / MP 804) and All my hope on God is founded (CH 192 / MP 16). I particularly love the Howells tune for this (Michael).


Word

There is a longing in our hearts (CH 720) would work well between prayers of confession and assurance and reading of scripture, picking up themes from the prayers, from the psalm, and also moving us towards God being revealed in Scripture.

The short response God of Abraham lead us (OCP / YouTube) could be used to tie together readings by singing it before and/or after each and picking appropriate verses, for example v1,2 for Genesis, v9,10 for Romans, and v13,17 for Matthew.

The Psalm this week is the text for one of my favourite Gospel songs, I love the Lord, he heard my cry (PFAS 116C), setting a paraphrase by Isaac Watts. It might be familiar from a very elaborate version by Whitney Houston but you can hear a fairly straight version in the first verse here which can work congregationally. There is also a beautiful setting, I love the Lord, because he heard (Wild Goose), in one of the more recent Wild Goose collections.

Unhelpfully for our purposes, the way the text of this psalm is split up in CH4 doesn’t match the lectionary. However, the two settings are the same metre and stress, so if you want to sing the verses from the lectionary you could add v1 of I love the Lord because he heard (CH 75) to the three verses of How can I ever thank the Lord (CH 76). You can then take your pick of either tune or alternatively use Kilmarnock (CH 69) which is suggested in the 1929 Psalter.


Response

How often do we read about laughter in the Bible – let alone sing about it?! God has made laughter (CH 764) is a song that can seem odd out of context but responds to this specific part of the Genesis reading.

I often struggle with some of the well known salvation songs when they are used with little context, but they feel like a very appropriate response to Romans. Amazing grace (CH 555 / MP 31) and And can it be (CH 396 / MP 33) are both emotive texts carried by powerful tunes, with the former having the option of the added chorus of My chains are gone (MP 1151 / CCLI). The great love of God (CH 358) is much less well known but a beautiful short reflection of this text by a former President of the WCC from Sri Lanka.

The Matthew text offers lots of potential themes to pick up in prayers and The Kingdom of God is justice and peace (Taizé) would make a very appropriate sung response, especially if you are looking to pick up on themes of the Kingdom in your sending. King of compassion (Satellite) is by a Scottish songwriting collective, and picks up on the line in v36 “he had compassion for them”. There is also a wonderful song by John Bell on this text called Go heal the sick which to date hasn’t been published but should be available on a new album later this year. Some people may have copies from Wild Goose events in which case it would be an excellent way to reflect on this text.


Sending

Like last week, the Gospel reading is a natural sending passage and there are a wonderful range of songs picking up the theme and the challenge is really narrowing them down! Many of them also pick up on themes from Romans, speaking into our motivation for mission.

Sent by the Lord am I (CH 250 / Wild Goose) is from Central America and calls on us to be co-creators of the Kingdom here and now. Send out the gospel (CH 681) and Build your kingdom here (CCLI / YouTube) are written from very different missional perspectives but also have similar themes. The latter would be great with a raucous ceilidh feel!

God of Justice (MP 1174 / CCLI) is a great general closing song with a call to “move us into action” while Hear the call of the Kingdom (Getty / MP 1282 / CCLI) takes us explicitly on the journey of hearing and then answering the call to follow. As a fire is meant for burning (CH 252) takes a more corporate approach to mission, naming it as the purpose of the Church. In the middle of debates around racial justice it’s also worth drawing attention to verse 3 which asks “may we be signs of oneness ‘mid earth’s peoples, many-hued.”