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Go On Your Way in Joy, My Friends

This joyful song by Kerri Meyer, inspired by writer Annie Dillard, has quickly become a favorite in the MMC community. Many of our leaders use it as a sending song, even adding steps that invite the community to dance and sing! It's also a zipper/pocket song that welcomes text changes for the context or season you're in.

"Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Let your left foot say 'Glory!'
and your right say, 'Amen!'"

Alternative text:
Go on your way in peace...
Go on your way in love...
Go on your way in hope... 

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Christ is our Guiding Light

Christ Is Our Guiding Light was composed by Rev. Eric Law of the Kaleidoscope Institute and works well as a canon or round in 2, 3 or 4 parts. There is also a lovely descant line for a cantor to sing once the group is confident. It could be used as a candle lighting song, for the Passing of Peace, and even in protests and marches. 

"Christ is our guiding light:
Come, let us walk in the way of peace."

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Come All, Draw Near and Eat

This call and response song setting was composed by Mark Howe and has a haunting, challenging, and beautiful shape. The tender, reverent language of this 5th century Syrian Eucharistic prayer is also striking. 

Teach the response first and let the community become comfortable with the intervals through repetition. Once learned, the community might slowly walk or dance their way to the table while singing, pausing to listen to the verses.

The piece is most effective when accompanied by a drone instrument (a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ).

"Come all, draw near and eat.

Your heavens are too high for us to reach, (Refrain) 
But here in your house you come close. (Refrain) 
Your throne is a fire none can touch, (Refrain) 
But here you live and dwell in bread and wine. (Refrain) 
You come to us so we can touch you. (Refrain) 
You draw us to you with cords of love. (Refrain) 
You dwell tenderly with us. (Refrain)"

Mark has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without copyright restrictions.

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Lay Me Low

This new musical setting of a Shaker text is by organist and composer Daniel Schwandt. It was written at a Music that Makes Community Composers Retreat in Brattleboro, VT in 2013. It has been used in many different contexts: as a call to prayer, for Ash Wednesday and during the Lenten season, for services of healing and reconciliation, and even at funerals or graveside services.

The melody has strong call and echo features, and some leaders teach the song this way. Others line it out line by line, adding simple movements to help the group better remember the text.

"Lay me low, where the Lord can find me.
Lay me low, where the Lord can *own me.
Lay me low, where the Lord can bless me.
Lay me low, oh, lay me low."

*MMC leaders frequently substitute 'hold' for 'own.' We find the original word carries baggage painful to many, especially communities of color with direct connection to the American history of chattel slavery. We honor the Shaker tradition from which the song emerges while also seeking to name and heal painful legacies of oppression.

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The Gifts of God

This Eucharistic response by psalmist and singer-songwriter Richard Bruxvoort Colligan invites the community to partake in the bread and wine. It's a straightforward melody that can be taught phrase by phrase through call and echo patterns. 

"The gifts of God for the people of God, 
Come now for all is prepared. 
The gifts of God for the people of God,
The Gospel is among us.

Richard's music is licensed via CCLI, OneLicense.net and Worldmaking.net. Be sure report use of the piece if you plan to print the text or music for your community.

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Our Breath Is Incense

Psalm 141 is commonly used during Vespers or Evening Prayer. This setting by psalmist and singer-songwriter Richard Bruxvoort Colligan invites the community to sing a refrain which alternates with solo verses.

Use call and echo patterns to teach the refrain phrase by phrase. Weave them together when the community is ready and proceed right into the psalm setting without breaking the flow.

Refrain:
Our breath is incense, sweet smell rising.
Our hands are open, lifted up in the evening. 


Verse 1: 
I call out to you Come and hear me 
Give ear to my voice, my God, and quickly. 
Refrain 

Verse 2
Watch the door of my mouth for integrity 
Guard my lips and keep my heart from turning. 
Refrain 

Verse 3 
Let the elders guide and correct my way 
Keep my words and actions true I pray. 
Refrain 

Verse 4 
Watch the farmer's plow turn the blessed earth 
Bones of death and signs of rising birth. 
Refrain 

Verse 5
You are the earth, I am a seed 
Hide me, grow me, love and never leave me. 
Refrain

Richard's music is licensed via CCLI, OneLicense.net and Worldmaking.net. Be sure report use of the piece if you print the text or music for your community.

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We Are Coming, Lord, to the Table

We Are Coming, Lord, to the Table is joyous communion song from Sierra Leone transcribed by Greg Scheer, a composer, author, and speaker with roots in the Reformed Church. It was carried to MMC by Paul Vasile, who learned it at a Calvin Institute of Worship symposium at the Chandler School of Theology in Atlanta, GA.

Because each section of the song repeats, it's easiest to teach the community through call and echo. In the second section, the word changes from "bread" to "wine" on the repeat, so it can be helpful to call it out a few beats ahead. Once learned, harmony can be invited. Drums and other rhythm instruments can also be added, but be sure they support the group's learning.

"We are coming, Lord to the table.
(We are coming, Lord to the table)
With the gift of bread we are coming, Lord.
(With the gift of wine we are coming, Lord.)
Oh, we are coming, Lord.
(Oh, we are coming, Lord.)

We are coming, Lord to the table.
(We are coming, Lord to the table)
To receive the bread, we are coming, Lord.
To receive the wine, we are coming, Lord.
Oh, we are coming, Lord.
(Oh, we are coming, Lord.)
"

Copyright for the song is held by Greg Scheer. A CCLI license is required to print or project the music or lyrics.

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There is Some Kiss We Want

This poignant song based on a line from the Sufi poet Rumi was shared with the MMC community by Ana Hernández. The intuitive melodic shape makes it easy to teach, and groups are quick to sing and harmonize. 

Ana suggests using the piece for centering and meditation practice. She also blogged about her experiences using the song in a 12-step community.

It can be sung unaccompanied or with guitar or keyboard.

"There is some kiss we want with our whole lives.
The touch of spirit on the body."

 

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