Through the psalm, the epistle and the Gospel readings there are strong themes of hearing the Word, following God’s law, and the light, life and freedom that these will bring. As with previous week’s the Genesis passage has few songs which connect with it directly and if you are focusing on this text your song choices for gathering and sending can be more general or shaped by the particular direction you take with it.
One way to open is to set the service as a time of the Word. Thanks to God whose word was spoken (CH 605) explores what this means in different ways while God whose almighty word (CH 112) appropriately finishes each verse with a call of “let there be light”. Speak O Lord (MP 1350 / Getty / CCLI) talks of receiving “the food of your holy word” which is nice subtle connection with the grain the Gospel.
More general songs might be I could sing of your love forever (MP 1006 / CCLI) which sets up themes of truth, freedom and light or Humbly in your sight (CH 496) with helpful references to walking with God and opening our ears to hear the Gospel.
If you are specifically focusing on Romans then you might want songs which call on the Spirit such as Holy Spirit (CCLI) or Come, Holy Spirit (CH 589 / MP 818 / Wild Goose). Come down, O love Divine (CH 489 / MP 89) is also a good option with v2 particularly relevant while Spirit of truth and grace (CH 608) is set to the same tune.
Psalm 119 is not just the longest psalm but the longest chapter in the Bible. The reading this week is the 14th part and would work well as the preparation for reading the other scripture passages.
There are two songs from British worship collectives which incorporate these verses. When God speaks (Satellite) takes them as its starting point and then moves onto describing what happens when God speaks and prays for this to happen now. We come to hear your word (Resound) ties them together with verses from John asking the Spirit to “guide us in all truth”.
There are also two great options from other continents, both with quite lively catchy rhythms. I know your word (More Voices / Hymnary) from Brazil and Your word will be a lamp (Sound the Bamboo via Wild Goose) from Malaysia. Both can be taught simply by call and response.
If you are singing the psalm responsorially then you might use Send out your light (PFAS 119K / Wild Goose) which is a setting of Psalm 43:3 but which relates nicely to this psalm as well. Alternatively the chorus of Thy word (CCLI / YouTube) could work well as a simple refrain.
The final verses of Romans suggest a congregational response praying for the Spirit to dwell in us and this is a rich vein for songs in a range of styles including the plainchant of Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove (CH 587), the Victorian hymn Breathe on me, Breath of God (CH 596 / MP 67), a setting of a Gaelic folk tune with Spirit of God, come dwell within me (CH 722) and the worship song Holy Spirit, inspire again (Resound).
If you have focused on Matthew then you may want a song which reflects on the parable. I don’t often find myself going back to CH3 these days but Almighty God, thy word is cast (Hymnary) is worth looking there for while In our lives plant seeds of hope (CH 349) is a fun option in the newer hymnary.
Genesis has set up the story of conflict between Jacob and Esau starting with their time in the womb. God! When human bonds are broken (Singing the Faith / Hope) is rare in starting by setting out the existence of conflict rather than moving straight to healing, pick a tune your congregation knows in this metre (list). Songs for reconciliation may also be appropriate such as Children of God, reach out to one another (CH 521) or Healing river of the Spirit (CH 707) which also preempts that this interpersonal conflict will lead to conflict between nations.
Both Romans and Matthew lead us to send a congregation out with themes of life, freedom and walking with God. The spirit lives to set us free (MP 664 / Worship Workshop) ties all of these together well although it can benefit from a bit of drive in the arrangement rather than vamping which makes it feel quite dated while If you believe and I believe (CH 771), Ewe thina / We walk his way (Wild Goose) and Freedom is coming (PFAS 114C / Wild Goose / Hymnary) are all songs from Africa which would be great recessionals.
If you have focused on the Spirit then We sing a love that sets all people free (CH 622) is a great text to a well known tune. Build your kingdom here (CCLI / YouTube) moves the call for the Spirit from the personal to the corporate which might be helpful if you have looked at Romans. Holy Spirit, gift bestower (CH 590) has a gentle strength to the Welsh tune which fits the many descriptions of the way the Spirit acts.