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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, and Be sure report use of the piece if you plan to print the text or music for your community.

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The Bread Which We Break

This buoyant call and response song by composer and retired church musician Marilyn Haskel is an invitation to joyful unity found in the sharing of the Eucharistic meal.

Marilyn begins by speaking the rhythm of the "Hallu, hallelujah!" response in rhythm, then asks the community to echo. Once the rhythm is clear she teach the responses, using her hands to remind the group of the melodic shape. Finally, she adds the cantor part and cues the response with a rhythmic gesture and an encouraging smile. 

While it may take time to learn, a song like this can be life-giving and empowering when the community is able to practice it before worship, as well as repeat it over several weeks.

You can help support the community's participation by teaching the responses to the choir. And model shared leadership by assigning the cantor part to choir members or other song leaders.

The piece can be sung unaccompanied. A drum can be helpful, but be careful it doesn't muddy the rhythm.

Cantor: The bread which we break
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
Cantor: is the sharing of the body of Christ. 
Response II: Hallu, hallelujah!
We being many are one bread.
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
We being many are one body.
Response II: Hallu, hallelujah!
For we all share in one bread.
Response I: Hallu, hallelujah!
For we all share in one bread.
Response III: Hallu, hallelujah!

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

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Hold My Hope/Teach Me To Be Love

This powerful, multi-part layered song was composed by Ana Hernández. It has often been used as a prayer song, holding space for fears and challenges to be named, held, and blessed by our collective voices.

Ana often begins with two lower voices (the ostinato, "Hold my hope... and the response, "Hold my trembling...") and lets the rhythm settle before lining out the melody. Further harmonies can then be lined out or improvised by the group.

"Hold my hope. 
Hold my trembling.
Hold my heart, teach me to be love."

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Tar a thighearna

Tar a thighearna is a beautiful Gaelic chant by singer and composer Ruth Cunningham. Translated "Come, Lord, come thou Being," the piece is a powerful invocation and useful for centering/gathering, prayers, and times when a gentle, focused energy is needed. 

The text and the melody can be learned through call and echo. Take your time and repeat passages that need extra care, especially those with ornamentation. Invite improvised harmony when the community is ready.

Tar a thighearna.

Pronunciation: tahr ah hear-nah, tahr-ah-hee

English translation:
Come, Lord, come thou Being.

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

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Send Now Your Servants

This joyful sending song was composed by Pastor Chad McKenna at a Music That Makes Community workshop in Chicago. The text is based on the Canticle of Simeon from Luke 2 and invites us to name the ways we have experienced God's salvation with all our senses.

The piece can be taught phrase by phrase using call and echo patterns. Notice the third line changes for each verse. Some leaders sing that alone, then invite the group to respond affirmatively with the final phrase. A more advanced technique is calling out the upcoming text (singing or speaking several beats ahead), essentially feeding the group the new words while they sing. 

"Send now your servants, send now your servants,
Send now your servants, Lord.
Our eyes have seen salvation here.
Send now your servants, Lord."

Additional verses:
"Our tongues have tasted salvation here...
Our ears have heard salvation here...
God has given salvation here..."

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


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Receive, O Earth

This is a gorgeous setting of an Orthodox funeral liturgy, written by Daniel Schwandt at our MMC Composers' Gathering in Brattleboro, VT in 2013. 

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Peace, Salaam, Shalom

Peace, Salaam, Shalom was written by Emma's Revolution (activists and singers Pat Humphries and Sandy Opatow) after September 11, 2001 and it quickly became an anthem of the peace movement. It sets the word 'peace' in English, Arabic, and Hebrew, offering a powerful interfaith message that has been shared at protests, religious services, and in other community contexts.

"We were moving from NYC to the Washington DC area over September 11th, 2001. When the only response from the government and the corporate media was “war and retribution,” we wrote “Peace, Salaam, Shalom” and sang it at an impromptu peace march in DC that week. Less than a month later, we led the song at the first peace rally in NYC after 9/11, where over 10,000 people sang with us for the three hour march, all the way from Union Square to Times Square."

Emma's Revolution asks groups, organizations, schools, churches, etc., that use their music to pay a one-time, sliding scale fee of $75-150 for use of the song in perpetuity. See their website for more information.

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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.

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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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Open My Lips, Oh Lord

This song was composed by Marilyn Haskel. 

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Open My Heart

This beautiful, layered chant by Ana Hernández is one of the best-known pieces in the MMC repertoire. The text is adapted from a Chinese mantra to Guan Shi Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. 

Leaders in the MMC community teach the song differently. Some begin with Part I, then move to Parts II and III. Others reverse the order to great effect. No matter how you teach it, be sure to tend the beautiful dissonance on the word "heart" and keep inviting the community to deeper listening. Additional parts can be improvised and you can also support the voices with guitar or keyboard accompaniment.

Ana suggests using the chant during Communion, in Taize services, underneath prayers, or to shift the energy of a tense situation. It can also be sung in Spanish and French. 

Open my heart.
Abre mi corazón.
Ouevre mon coeur.

You can purchase sheet music or a license to use Ana's music from her website. 

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Mass for Immanuel

This is a mass composed by Daniel Schwandt in honor of Scott Weidler when he left his position as cantor at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chicago, IL in 2014.

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Listen to the Word of God

This lively call and response song composed by Marilyn Haskel was originally written for a weekly paperless Eucharist at St. Paul's Chapel in New York City that welcomed visitors from around the world.

Begin by teaching the 'Hallelujah!" responses, then sing the call and invite the group right in. Before you know it, the group will be singing the whole song. In Marilyn's context, a quartet of singers filled out the harmony parts in the printed score.

"Listen to the Word of God.
Hear the living Word.

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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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Khudaya Rehem Ker

This expressive melody by Pakistani composer R.F. Liberius invites us into communal grief and lament. The tune can be taught through call and echo, with hand motions providing direction, as well as invitation into the swoops and slides that are an essential part of the musical style. Listen to the recordings below for guidance in pronouncing the Urdu text.

The song can be used in many different contexts: during Advent or Lent, in interfaith or ecumenical worship gatherings, as well as in liturgies centered around themes of justice, peace, and reconciliation. 

It can be sung unaccompanied or with a drone instrument (like a shruti box).

Khudaya rahem kar.
Masii haa rahem kar.
Khudaya rahem kar."

Singing Translation:
"Have mercy on us, Lord.
Have mercy on us, Christ.
Have mercy on us, Lord."

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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In My End Is My Beginning

Rachel Kroh composed this song at a Music that Makes Community workshop in 2012. The text is from Burnt Norton in T. S. Eliot's The Four Quartets

"In my end is my beginning, in my beginning is my end."

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If In Your Heart (Setting 1)

Ana Hernández has written two contrasting settings of If In Your Heart, a short text by 17th century mystic and poet Angelus Silesius. The first is a rhythmic setting that creates a sense of joyous anticipation. It is wonderfully suited to the Advent and Christmas seasons and could be effective as a gathering or processional song, for candle lighting, or as a Gospel acclamation.  

Ana suggests a syncopated clapping rhythm that suggests a heartbeat, adding another dimension to our singing of the text.

"If in your heart you make a manger for his birth, 
then God will once again become a child on earth."

Teaching note: Teach the melody until secure, repeating phrases and breaking them down as necessary. Try assigning the handclap pattern to a small group (or even a percussion instrument), but encourage them to stay soft until the group’s confidence grows and it ‘locks in’ rhythmically.

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I Will Supply Your Need

I Will Supply Your Need is a call and response song by Ben Allaway, inspired by Philippians 4:19 and the devotional book God Calling by Two Listeners, edited by A. J. Russell. Easily learned and well-suited to many liturgical contexts, the song can deepen into a place of spacious prayer. Improvised harmonies can be invited and additional calls can be written or extemporized to name specific needs within the community. 

Additionally, the song leader can shift the language of the response from 'I will...' to 'You will...' as well as offer dynamic instructions that shape the energy and flow of the song.

"Jesus said to me, "I will supply your need."

The weak need my strength...
The strong need my tenderness...
The fallen need my salvation...
The righteous need my pity for sinners...
The lonely need my friendship...
The fighters need my leading...
No one of this world can be all these to another...
Sing it over...
Believe him/Christ when he says...
Thank you, Lord..."

Teaching note: Perhaps the biggest challenge is the shift from teaching the response (which we model through call and echo) to the call and response structure. Most groups need a gentle reminder (either spoken or sung) that they keep singing the response and don't echo the call. 

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I Will Sing a Song of Mercy

This joyful, three-part round by Bill Doggett is inspired by Psalm 101 and Micah 6, which invites us to 'do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.' The melody rises and falls intuitively and the text is short, making it an excellent starting place for communities new to paperless singing. 

"I will sing a song of mercy;
sing a song of justice;
sing a song of praise to God.

I will live a life of mercy;
live a life of justice;
live a life of praise to God."

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I Will Give You Rest

This soothing chant by Ana Hernández is based on a phrase from Matthew 11:28. She suggests using it for personal meditation/centering, as well as in worship services. The tune quickly welcomes harmony; it could also be accompanied by a drone instrument (a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ), keyboard, or guitar.

"Come unto me and I will give you rest."

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I Am Thirsty

This joyous song call and response song by Marilyn Haskel celebrates the life-giving, renewing waters of baptism. The text draws imagery from the miracle of water from the rock in Exodus 17, as well as Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman in John 4.

Marilyn begins by teaching the community's responses, which can take some time and patience. As the piece grows in confidence, harmony can be invited and a second leading voice can be added.

"I am thirsty. I come to Jesus.
I believe. I come to drink.
From the rock came life-giving water;
from the well, water for all.

From my heart, water is flowing;
from my heart, outward to all."
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