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Who Will Set Us Free?

Who Will Set Us Free? is a powerful song of lament and longing written by Father Bernardo Maria Perez and Philippine composer Francisco Feliciano. It is based around a five-note (pentatonic) melody and can be sung unaccompanied or with a drone instrument (like a shruti box).

The song can be taught without printed text or music using call and echo. Leadership can be offered by a cantor or by a group of voices taking the lead, creating a powerful dialogue and reinforcing the spacious, reflective quality of the music. The song could be useful in Advent, Lent, or times of communal grief and challenge. 

"Who will set us free? (Who will set us free?)
Jesus (Jesus)
Jesus (Jesus)
We're waiting (We're waiting)
We're waiting for you (We're waiting for you)
You said you'd be coming (You said you'd be coming)
Don't let our hope be futile (Don't let our hope be futile)"

Additional verses:
Who will clear our sight? 
Who will be our light?
Who will give us life?

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He/Christ Came Down

He/Christ Came Down is a joyous melody from Cameroon transcribed by John Bell of the Iona Community. It appears in several hymnals and songbooks.

Several leaders in our community invite movement and embodiment while sharing this song, often with an arm gesture beckoning Christ to come down. The words can also be coordinated with each Sunday of Advent (i.e. hope, peace, joy, love, light), making this an excellent seasonal offering. 

"*He came down that we might have love.
Hallelujah forevermore!"

*Some leaders change the text to ‘Christ came down…’ More Voices of the United Church of Canada translates the text as ‘Jesus Came Bringing Us Hope.

Copyright for the song is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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Thank You for This Day, God/Spirit

This song from The Native American Church Movement awakens a powerful sense of openness and thanksgiving. It is inspired by the Native American ritual of greeting the morning sun—a time for acknowledging the daily renewal of creation and connecting with God, The Great Spirit. 

Additional verses can be added, with an invitation for the community to add their intentions in the moment.

"Thank you for this day, *God,
thank you for this day.
This healing, this healing, this healing day.

Thank you for this world... 
Thank you for these friends… 
Thank you for this life…"

*Several leaders in the MMC community sing 'Thank you for this day, Spirit...'

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I Am Here in the Heart of God

This beautiful chant by New Thought song leader and composer Erin McGaughan was arranged as a call and echo song by Chanda Rule and has been shared at many MMC workshops over the years. Chanda added several new verses to the original song and there is a modulation between each. Here is a link to the original song for comparison.

"I am here in the heart of God,
God is here in the heart of me.
Like the wave in the water and the water in the wave,
I am here in the heart of God.

I am here in the breath of God,
God is here in the heart of me.
Like the wind in the springtime and the springtime in the wind,
I am here in the breath of God.

I am here in the soul of God,
God is here in the soul of me.
Like the flame in the fire and the fire in the flame.
I am here in the soul of God.

I am here in the mind of God,
God is here in the mind of me.
Like the earth in my body and my body in the earth,
I am here in the soul of God."

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Yarabba Ssalami - God of Peace

This passionate prayer for peace is attributed to a Palestinian source in several Global Song collections.

While the pronunciation of Arabic can differ from country to country, here is a recording of the text in the original language to guide you


Yarabba ssalami amter alayna ssalam,
Yarabba ssalami im la’ qulubana ssalam.

Poetic translation:
God of Peace, rain peace upon us,
fill our hearts with peace.

Singing translation:
God of peace and of justice, rain down upon us your peace.
God of peace and of justice, fill every heart with your peace.

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Let the Broken Ones Be Healed

This lyrical melody by Sandra Gay can also be sung as a three-part round. The text is from Songs for the Cycle by hymn writer Michael Hudson, who took on the challenge of writing a hymn text for each of the gospels in the three-year Lectionary cycle.

Invite the community to listen to the text spoken aloud. Then, break the tune into phrases and invite the group to echo each. Combine the phrases into longer units; listen carefully and use gestures or mnemonic cues to instill confidence. When the group is ready, sing the piece through several times and then invite a canon.

"Let the broken ones be healed.
Let the lost be found and fed.
Let the grace of God roll on.
Let the river rise and spread.
Step into the stream with me.
Let God's gracious purpose be!"

 

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While We Are Waiting, Come

While We Are Waiting, Come is a beautiful melody by Claire Cloninger and Don Cason that can be taught through echo patterns. It makes an effective Prayer Song or response during the Advent season.

"While we are waiting, come.
While we are waiting, come.
Jesus our Lord, Emmanuel,
While we are waiting, come."

Once the assembly has learned the song well, you can add harmony parts or keyboard accompaniment.

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Come to the Table of Grace

Come to the Table of Grace is a short song by Barbara Hamm, the Minister of Music at Community Congregational Church UCC in Benicia, CA. It could be offered as an Invitation to the Table or during the distribution of communion elements.

Try lining out the melody one phrase at a time, inviting the community to echo until they're confident. It's also a zipper/pocket song that welcomes the substitution of words for the context/season. We have included a few possibilities below.

"Come to the table of grace.
Come to the table of grace.
This is God's table it's not yours or mine.
Come to the table of grace."

Alternative text:
Come to the table of peace...
Come to the table of joy...
Come to the table of hope...

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Spirit, Still My Body

Spirit, Still My Body was written by Charles Murphy, a singer, songwriter, and church musician in the Chicago area. It was shared at our Pentecost weekend in Western Chicago in June 2017.

Enjoy this soulful song and give thanks for Spirit's calming, centering presence in these challenging days.

"Spirit, still my body. Spirit, wake my soul.
I can't tame tomorrow, Now need be my goal.
Spirit, still my body. Spirit, wake my soul.
Steep me in the present, The rest God will control.'

Charles is happy to have you share the song but kindly asks you to reach out and request permission.

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