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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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Hamba nathi Mkhululi wethu / Go With Us, Lord, and Set Us All Free - South Africa (Xhosa)

This South African Song in Xhosa is roughly translated “Go with us, our Savior” and comes from the repertoire of anti-Apartheid Freedom Songs written in the 1970's and 80's. It was shared with the MMC community by Paul Vasile, who learned it from Pamela Warrick Smith. In the spirit of music from many African contexts, the song invites opportunities for improvisation and adding actions/themes specific to the community's needs or experiences.

We have seen leaders share it as zipper/pocket song (i.e. Go with us, Lord, and give us your love/joy/peace) or deepen its communal spirit by crafting new verses (i.e. Come walk with us and share in our bread/...and join in the song). It makes a powerful sending song.

"Hamba nathi Mkhululi wethu"

There are several poetic translations of the song into English, not all faithful to the original Xhosa:  

1. You Are Holy, You Show Us the Way
2. God With Us, Lord, and Set Us All Free
3. Come Walk With Us, the Journey Is Long (Anders Nyberg)

Teaching note from Paul Vasile: When you lead Hamba nathi, make sure that you keep a steady beat so the group feels the syncopated rhythm of the tune. I teach the tune first and once that's set offer the bass line. If folks don't intuitively add harmony (almost every group I've taught this to has), outline parts.

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Come, Bring Your Burdens to God (Woza nomthwalo wakho)

This South African traditional song from the singing of the Mooiplaas congregation was transcribed and arranged by John Bell of the Iona Community.  

To lead it, sing through it once or twice, perhaps reinforcing the shape of the melody with your hand. It's easy enough that folks will start singing with you quickly. Encourage harmony and add the leader part once the group is confident.

Swahili: 
"Woza nomthwalo wakho,
Woza nomthwalo wakho,

Woza nomthwalo wakho,
Uyes’akasozathi hayi.

English singing translation:
"Come, bring your burdens to God,
come, bring your burdens to God,
Come, bring your burdens to God
for Jesus will never say no."

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

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There Is Enough

Kerri Meyer wrote There Is Enough at a Music that Makes Community workshop and it became an instant hit! The melody was adapted from a Peter Mayer refrain and she also composed a descant to sing over the tune. 

The song is easy to teach through call and echo. Simple hand gestures can help reinforce the subtle differences between the phrases, especially the first and third. And harmony is so intuitive it may show up before you invite folks to add it.

We've seen the piece shared in so many settings - from church suppers and stewardship campaigns to a protest in the office of a United States senator.

"There is enough!
There is enough!
There is enough, oh,
Enough and some to share!"

Descant:
"God has blessed her people, God has blessed us!"

The Rev. Breen Sipes of Tri-Saints Lutheran Parish in rural Nebraska shared additional verses she's used with young people in her community:

"I am enough..."
"You are enough..."
"God has enough..."

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

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Christ Be With You / Me / Us

Ruth Cunningham wrote this setting of a Celtic blessing, a variation or simplification of the beloved St. Patrick's Breastplate, and it was brought to the MMC community by Ana Hernandez. The song works beautifully as a blessing, prayer song, or as a gentle Passing of Peace. Gestures, as modeled in the video below, can also help a community experience this prayer with their bodies. 

The focus of the song can shift easily from 'me' to 'you' to 'us,' slowly widening the circle of intention. It can also be treated like a zipper/pocket song, with variations offered alongside or instead of 'Christ.'

"Christ be with me, Christ before me,
Christ to the right of me, Christ behind me,
Christ to the left of me, Christ above me,
Christ below me, Christ within me." 

Alternative text:
Love be with me...
Peace be with me...

Teaching note from Donald Schell: When I'm leading this song, I sing a minor scale (1,2,3,4,5) to myself and drop down one note (7 below 1) to find the starting note. I begin with people standing and ask them to "do what I do and sing what I sing" and I encourage large gestures - big arm motions, stepping forward, moving whole body and from center. The gestures help people learn the song including the sequence of directions'

I usually begin with singing the whole "Christ be with you" and have people echo phrase by phrase (overlapping slightly). Usually I'll do a second iteration (choosing to substitute 'me' or 'us' for 'you') still singing call and echo, phrase by phrase. Just ahead of beginning the third iteration (shifting pronoun again), I say, "sing with me" and the shift from call and echo to simple melody in unison.

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Come to the Feast

Sylvia Miller-Mutia created Come to the Feast at a Music that Makes Community gathering in January 2015. While created as a song for people to sing in procession to the table for communion, it is easily adapted to serve as an invitation or transition into any part of the liturgy.

"Come to the feast!
Come, one and all. Come to the feast."

Alternative texts:
Come, hear the Word...
Come, pray with us...
Go now in peace...

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Salaam Aleikum/May Peace Be With You

This song is originally from Ghana, and the version we've sung at many MMC events is from a setting by Marty Haugen and Marc Anderson. You can find the sheet music and a recording of the song at GIA Music.

 

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Dumiyah

This contemplative, layered setting of Psalm 65 by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan is a dialogue between two phrases in different languages.

Dumiyah
Tibi silens laus

Hebrew translation:
Silence

Latin translation:
For you, silence is praise

Richard's music is licensed through 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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God Our Home and Help

This gentle melody by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is an invitation to release and rest drawn from Psalm 46. It can be used as a Psalm refrain, as a prayer song, or in times of challenge or crisis. With or without accompaniment, the tune quickly finds harmony. 

"God our home and help,
O God, our home and help,
we entrust our troubles to you."

Richard's music is licensed through 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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Hear My Cry, O God (Psalm 61)

This layered song by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan is based on Psalm 61. Each part can be taught to a different part of the community or choir. When each is secure, they can be combined to create a rich, textured space for prayer.

The song can be sung a cappella or accompanied.

Part 1:
"Hear my cry, O God. Listen to my prayer."

Part 2:
"From the end of the earth I call to you, though my heart is faint."

Part 3:
"Let me abide with you forever."

Richard's music is licensed through 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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In God Alone (Psalm 62)

This short but versatile refrain by psalmist Richard Bruxvoort Colligan can be sung as a simple melody or as a canon. Based on words from Psalm 62, it can be used as a psalm refrain, a prayer song, or in moments of challenge and crisis.

With or without accompaniment, the tune quickly finds harmony. 

"In God alone my soul is at rest.
Be at rest, my soul."

Richard's music is licensed through 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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What We Need Is Here

This song was composed by Amy McCreath, who now serves as the Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, MA. It has become a sort of Music that Makes Community anthem because of its simple but powerful lyrics and easily taught (and harmonized) melody. 

Based on a the final line of the poem The Wild Geese by Wendell Berry, it can be shared in a variety of contexts, within and outside faith communities. 

"What we need is here."

The Rev. McCreath has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without restrictions. She simply asks you properly acknowledge the author of the tune and text. 

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To the Bath and the Table

To the Bath and the Table is a three-part canon composed by Mark Howe, the Director of Music and Canon Precentor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Burlington, VT. It's a quotation shared by liturgical scholar Gordon Lathrop and a powerful invitation into central symbols and ritual actions of the Christian faith.

The piece can be lined out in two chunks, using call and echo to reinforce the melody and text. When the community's singing is confident, you can divide them into parts and invite a canon. 

Mark also composed a cantor part using Sylvia Dunstan's hymn text, Crashing Waters at Creation, which can be sung over the canon. 

"To the bath and the table, to the prayers and the word,
come, every seeking soul."

Mark has given faith communities permission to sing and share the song without restrictions. Copyright for Sylvia Dunstan's hymn text is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text should you use it.

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The Light of Christ

The Light of Christ is a simple melody by Donald Fishel with a leader/cantor descant. It could also be taught as a two-part layered song. 

Teach the piece phrase by phrase through call and echo. Then invite the community to sing it through, adding the leader part when the group is confident. 

The song can be used for Vespers, for candle lighting, and as a response during the Christmas and Epiphany seasons. An accompanying instrument like a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ can help support the congregation and sustain the energy of the song. 

"The light of Christ has come into the world." 

Copyright for the piece is held by Church Publishing, Inc. You will need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.

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