This gentle, expressive song by John Bell is a powerful invitation into a space of loving trust.
"Don't be afraid, my love is stronger,
My love is stronger than your fear.
Don't be afraid, my love is stronger,
And I have promised to be always near."
Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.
Here is a version performed by Music that Makes community presenter Ana Hernández:
This buoyant, rhythmic setting of verses from Psalm 134 was written by Ana Hernández in 2007.
The 7/8 meter is best felt in the body, first through tapping or clapping the larger rhythmic groups (2+2+3). Ana often invites the group to sing the tune on "la" until they've gained familiarity with the melody and rhythm. Then text can be added.
"Yours the day also the night, you made the moon and the sun.
La la la la...
God has bless'd us. God has bless'd us. God has bless'd us."
A shruti box or another drone instrument can help the group stay on pitch; percussion instruments can add rhythmic support.
Sheet music can be found in Music By Heart, the original collection of paperless songs that gave birth to MMC's workshops.
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.
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.
Here is a recording of the song by the Drakensberg Boy's Choir in South Africa.
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!"
"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.
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.
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."
Here's a video of Rachel leading the song at The Bishop's Ranch:
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.
Sheet music can be found in Music By Heart, MMC's first collection of paperless songs.
Here's a video of Marilyn Haskel teaching this setting:
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.
This layered chant commonly used for the service of Compline was written by tunesmith Ana Hernández. Here's a description of the piece from her website:
Guide Us Waking, Guard Us Sleeping is an eight-part circular chant with optional piano accompaniment you may improvise in almost any musical style, from early music to gospel. It's also beautiful with unaccompanied voices. You may also use as few as three parts and still create something beautiful, which makes it perfect as an anthem for small choirs, chanting groups, and improvisors. My friend Julia taught it to her choir and they sang it at the end of rehearsal every Thursday night for years while they put away their books and put on their coats.
"Guide us waking, guard us sleeping,
that awake we walk in love/watch with Christ;
and asleep we may rest in peace."