Proper 9A (5th July 2020)

Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Psalm 45:10-17
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30


Gathering

In Matthew we find an invitation from Jesus “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest“. This could offer a natural call to worship and you could open with a song which pick up on these words such as I heard the voice of Jesus say (CH 540 / MP 275), Come and find the quiet centre (CH 716) or When the storms are overwhelming (Resound).

A more general option for would be a song which speaks of trust in God who is there for us at all times. Classic hymns which fit well are What a friend we have in Jesus (CH 547 / MP 746) and Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (CH 160 / MP 560) while Build my life (CCLI / YouTube) and Way Maker (CCLI / YouTube) are more recent options.

The text from Romans also offers an opportunity to tailor your time of confession. Sung responses here could be Create in me a clean heart (PFAS 51F / YouTube), which resonates with the focus on the struggle within our body, or Jesus Christ – Perfect Love (Singing the Faith / YouTube).


Word

Psalm 45 is not one which many writers have set and this is a psalm very much in two parts so if you are following the lectionary it seems important to focus on the second half or else you shift the emphasis from addressing a woman to addressing a man. The musical history of the Church of Scotland means there are always options though and the 1929 Scottish Psalter offers us O daughter, take good heed (Hymnary – omit refrain) to the tune ‘St Michael’ (CH 643). For a more contemporary setting, Wake up, O daughter of Zion (Kimbrough) is a beautiful song which brings this text together with Isaiah chapters 52 and 62.


Response

Many contemporary songwriters have been inspired by the passage from Matthew to write quite reflective songs. Come to me (Kimbrough), Come, come, come (Gordon), Come and find rest in Christ (Wild Goose) could all offer an opportunity to either learn a new song or have someone lead a solo.

A couple of hymns which could relate to both Matthew and Romans are Thou hidden love of God (CH 188), the fourth century hymn Lord Jesus, think on me (CH 491), and Just as I am (CH 553 / MP 396). With the latter make sure that you check which tune your congregation know as the opening of ‘Saffron Walden’ and ‘Misericordia’ are very similar and you can easily sing the wrong one without realising it.

Genesis is a more challenging text to offer suggestions on without knowing the exact focus of a sermon, but a song such as Your love, O God, has called us here (CH 695) which speaks of the love between a couple and the love of God might work.

There are a number of short simple refrains you might wish to use as a sung prayer response, such as Come bring your burdens to God (Wild Goose) or Come to me (CH 759 / Wild Goose).


Sending

Like with gathering songs, you might want to finish with songs about trust in God and God’s faithfulness, whichever reading you are focused on. There are lots of well known options across a range of styles including Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51), Cornerstone (CCLI / YouTube), and In Christ alone (MP 1072 / Getty / CCLI). Some people have reservations about a particular line in the last song but a quick search online will reveal alternatives if that is an obstacle to you singing it.

If you have focused on Romans then you could also consider songs which focus more of overcoming sin such as And can it be (CH 396 / MP 33), I need thee every hour (CH 556 / MP 288), It is well with my soul (CCLI / YouTube) and O Jesus, I have promised (CH 644 / MP 501).