Songs and Psalms of Lament – a resource

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 1.52.05 PMA tragedy strikes and your pastor emails and says we need to set aside some time to lament on Sunday.  You break out your songlist and discover that in fact you have ZERO songs of lament.  There have been cries from many different corners of the church in the past few years that our worship needs to create space for seasons of Lament. Here is a helpful article from John Starke on using lament in your worship. It may not be a practice that is needed every Sunday but our world is too full of sorrow, sin, and tragedy not to devote seasons in your worship to this rich biblical practice.  The Psalms are deeply familiar with a life of lament and so should we.  Below are a number of songs that traffic in the language and mode of lament.  I’ve included a small list for now where I had both audio and chart files. Here is a helpful list of both communal and personal psalms of lament.  Please suggest more songs in the comments below!

Here is a brief guide from John Witvliet on using lament in worship:
A Basic structure of a prayer of lament, mirroring the structure of the Psalms.

  • Our lament begins with invocation, a startling confession that even in times of crisis, we approach a personal and accessible God.
  • Then, our lament freely addresses this personal God through the picturesque gallery of images used in direct address in the psalms.
  • Our prayer continues with bold lament. We bring our most intense theological questions right into the sanctuary.
  • Then our prayer continues with specific petition: heal us, free us, save us.
  • Finally, our prayer ends with expressions of hope, confidence, and trust, however muted they might be by the present situation.

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PSALMS

How Long, O Lord (Psalm 13) – City Hymns
mp3 | chart

I Cry Aloud to God (Psalm 77) – Nathan Partain
mp3 | chart

Our Song in the Night (Psalm 77) – Michael Van Patter
mp3 | chart

Restore us, O God (Psalm 80) – Greg Scheer and Naaman Wood
MP3 | Chart-PDF

O Thou that Dwellest in the Heavens (Psalm 123) – Bruce arr.
mp3 | leadsheet (Text – Watts / Tune – AFRICA)

Although We Are Weeping (Psalm 126) – Bifrost Arts Music
mp3 | chart

Out of the Depths (Psalm 130) – City Hymns
mp3 | chart

From Depths of Woe (Psalm 130) – Indelible Grace
mp3 | chart (Zac Hicks version)

To God I Made My Sorrows Known (Psalm 142)  – Bruce Arr.
mp3 | leadsheet (Text – Watts / Tune – POLAND)

SONGS

Blessed Be Your Name (Redmans)
mp3 | CS | LS

Let Justice Roll – Sojourn Music
mp3 | chart

FROM CANTICLES ALBUM

In the Night (Isaiah 26) – Jason Morrell
mp3 | chart

Jonah’s Song – I Called to God – Patrick Schlabs
mp3 | chart

In Our Distress We Sought the Lord (Isaiah 26) – Katie and Mark Ribera
mp3 | chart

Alas the Lord My Life is Gone (Jonah 2) – Karl Digerness and Brian T. Murphy
mp3 | chart

OTHER RESOURCES and ARTICLES

Liturgical resources for Lament – blog

Songs in the Night – Michael Van Patter

How Long O Lord – Psalms for Advent – Jacob Tilton

Prayerbook Project, Vol 2 – Brian Moss

Rejoicing in Lament – Dr. Todd Billings

Songs for Lent – New York Hymns

List of more songs and resources from the Global Worship blog

Recovering the Lost Practice of Lament – Kristen Gilles

Matt Boswell – Messenger Hymns, Vol.2

Messenger-Hymns-2-Cover-Proof-1

I love Matt Boswell. There are few people that I know of that have been so active at the ground level to support and love on Worship Leaders.  Matt is the founder of Doxology and Theology which is an active blog for worship leaders and has just started hosting worship conferences.  He is an author and helped organize THIS BOOK for worship leaders that I contributed too. He is also a pastor and prolific singer-songwriter.

Matt recently released a brand new album of modern hymns and a few retunes with a stellar constellation of co-writers including Matt Papa, Michael Bleeker, and even Stuart Townend!

You can purchase at BANDCAMP or ITUNES

You can read his album notes on the songs HERE

TRACKLIST:

 

  1. Creation Hymn (Boswell/Papa)
  2. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (Luther/Boswell/Critz)
  3. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery (Boswell/Bleecker/Papa)
  4. God Omniscient, God All Knowing (Boswell)
  5. Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor (Boswell/Papa)
  6. God the Spirit (Boswell/Stone 1886)
  7. O Church of Christ, Invincible (Boswell/Townend)

Memorizing Scripture in Song – resources

There are so many great sites and resources that have been developed in the past few years if you are interested in memorizing scripture to song.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 8.55.53 AM
The Verses Project

Run by Joel Limpic and crew at Park Church in Denver, CO.  They use the ESV translation and work off of the memorization program “Fighter Verses” developed by John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, MN. I’ve used some of these in worship and it’s an eclectic range of styles with some gorgeous visuals ta boot.

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Scripture in Song

Your one-stop shop for all resources memorization and scripture is “Scripture in Song” hosted by Ken Boer and the good folks at Covenant Life Church. Their site is also a rich portal for exploring other projects relating to the memorization of scripture, catechism, etc.

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Sing a Psalm

Jeremy Mayfield serves as a musician at a few churches in Alabama and has created a site where he is writing music to responsorial psalms. It’s a bit of a new musical/liturgical world to me but the songwriting and style is straightforward. Charts for the site are worked up by Zach Sprowls at yourchartsource.

Semi-Exhaustive List of Worship Conferences

2014-WORSHIP-CONF

I get asked a lot about what worship conferences to check out. Here is a great list of conferences I have been to, spoken at, or heard good things about.

The Calvin Worship Symposium (Grand Rapids, MI)
This is a yearly worship conference held at Calvin College the last weekend of every January (Michigan in winter…can’t beat it) sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. The speakers, workshops and attendees are a wide swath of american/canadian christendom.  The vibe is eclectic-ecumenical.  A great conference to get out of your comfort zone and be stretched! You can read some blog reflections on past symposiums HERE.

National Worship Leaders Worship Conference
Every summer Worship Leader magazine hosts a number of worship conferences. These have become more regional over the years. They feature worship services with both established and up and coming contemporary worship leaders.  Mostly practical break-out sessions and tons of opportunities to check out the latest/greatest gear. Vibe is commercial-megachurch-contemporary.  You can see my post HERE.

Bifrost Arts Music Conference 
Every couple of years Isaac Wardell and Co put on a conference focusing on various themes related to worship.  Vibe is reformed-indie-folk. You can see my posts on the first two HERE and HERE.

Worship God Conference (Louisville, KY)
Bob Kauflin (Sovereign Grace Music) and co have a growing network of conferences they are hosting and planning. They are always a tremendous mix of worship times, encouragement, practical breakout sessions and rich biblical preaching and teaching. Vibe is charismatic-reformed-contemporary.

Doxology and Theology Conference (Louisville, KY)
A newcomer to the scene of worship conferences. This conference is specifically geared for worship leaders who have a desire to more fully understand the role and function of scripture in worship through a biblical lens. Vibe is reformed-baptist-modern hymnody.

Trinity School for Ministry (Pittsburg, PA)
Andy Piercy is now hosting two yearly gatherings for worship leaders and
Dr. Joel Scandrett is hosting a yearly gathering focused on promoting the legacy of Bob Webber and Ancient Future Worship called the “Ancient Evangelical Future Conference.” Vibe is eclectic-liturgical-contemporary. See my post here.

Transformation Conference (Seattle, WA)
Hosted by Fuller’s Brehm Center and Bethany Community Church this is a yearly? worship conference that hosts some great talent/speakers from the pacific northwest.  Last year featured Mako Fujimura, Brian Moss, Citizens & Saints, and more! Check out their site HERE. Vibe is post-evangelical, eclectic.

The Hymn Society Conference
Every year the Hymn Society hosts their annual conference in a different city around the US.  Each year has a different theme and focus. The vibe is traditional worship but there is always great content to be had!  Two years ago a few of us associated with the retuned hymn movement led an evening hymn sing and presented some workshops. Reflections on our time HERE.

Congregational Music Conference (Oxford, England)
Academic conference hosted every year in Oxford looking at congregational music issues from the lens of ethnomusicology, musicology, history, cultural studies, etc. I presented here on the retuned hymn movement in 2014.

New City Music Conference (St. Louis, MO)
Kirk Ward hosts a conference most summers focusing on urban ministry and music. It’s not too late to register for this years conference in St. Louis, MO. Info here.

Praxis Worship Conference (Various)
A conference hosted by a group of large non-denom churches and leaders wrestling with how to incorporate liturgy into their worship gatherings.  More info here.

Yale Institute of Sacred Music (New Haven, CT)
Hosts small conferences from time to time. Their most recent conference was on the use of poetry in pastoral ministry. More info here.

Austin Stone Worship Conference (Austin, TX)
Conference hosted by Austin Stone church in Austin, TX. Aaron Ivey is their worship leader. I’ve never been but I’ve heard good things. You can see info from their conference last year here.

-OTHER-

CIVA Arts Conference

Pastors to Artists Retreats @ Laity Lodge. A yearly retreat led and curated by Dr. David Taylor (Fuller-Houston) and a pilgrimage for many who minister to artists.

Mockingbird Conference (w/ Zac Hicks)

Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Music (Grand Rapids, MI)

Songs inspired by Micah 6:8

Micah 6:8

Here is a list of songs inspired by the text in Micah 6:8
Purchase the image above HERE

Micah 6:8 (ESV)

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?


Greg Scheer – Living Justly

Charlie Hall – Micah 6:8 | chart

Maranatha – Micah 6-8

Thomlin, Baloche – You Have Shown Us
mp3 | chart | youtube

James Ward – Micah 6:8
mp3 | chart | Words

Trevor Hodge (aus.) – Micah Song
mp3 | chart

Related:

Sandra McCracken – Justice Will Roll Down
mp3 | chart | youtube

Sojourn – Let Justice Roll
mp3 | chart

Liturgy

Let Justice Roll: Worship Planning Resources with a Justice Theme (RW Magazine)

Micah 6:8 Call to Worship

Prayer – Holy Spirit as Water

modern-blue-banner-doveAt Hope this year we’ve been writing prayers exploring the various images and metaphors of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.  A few weeks ago I was up for writing a prayer exploring the scriptural image of the Holy Spirit as water.  Here is a good article from John Piper with pastoral thoughts on what it means to pray directly to the Holy Spirit.


Holy Spirit,

Come Thou fount of every blessing.
Come Thou hurricane of Christ’s presence
Come Thou holy perspiration, and upwell life into our needy hearts tonight

The Word tells us that as you hovered over
the chaotic waters of creation,
So you also hovered over the waters of Christ’s baptism.
So come now and hover over the new creation of your church.

We are full of chaos and uncleanness.
But our desire for you sounds the deep and waters the mountain peaks.
Our souls, dry and dusty as they are – need your gentle rains and your flash floods.
So come and wash over us now with the perfect blood of Jesus –
and cleanse us of every doubt, every sin, every shame,
every bit of darkness.
And grow in us the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

O Remembrancer Divine,
Remind us in this Resurrection season that we are a people created
from the waters of baptism.
Only as we die and rise with Christ can we truly live.

May you be for us now, Holy Spirit,
a spring whose water never fails, whose location is never lost, whose gentle presence is never disdained.

May this gathering here tonight – this little tributary of the mighty oceans of your people…be a river whose streams make glad the city of God.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

– Bruce Benedict, March 2015

Singing Our Way Through Eastertide

Eastertide allelia

I am on a slow journey to make more of Eastertide in my own worship life.  Versus Lent I am thinking about what I can add to my life.  Feasting more. Fellowshipping with friends more. Reading and praying more.  Singing more songs that fill me with the wonder of the Resurrection.  Below I’m including a few resources to guide you through Eastertide.  I hope it lends light and glory to this side of the cross!!

Stations of the Resurrection – PDF

Eastertide Devotional from Christ Church Austin – PDF

Easter – Week One – Exsultet – City Church SF

Week Two – The Lamb has Overcome – Red River Hymnal

Week Three – Christ is Risen – Ghost Ship

Week Four – He is Risen (Caroline Cobb)

Week Five – The Strife is Over – Citizens & Saints

Week Six – When He Comes (Coram Deo)

Ascension – Week Seven – Christ the Lord (Wen Reagan)

Pentecost – Week Eight – Breathe (O Breath of Life)

From the Easter sermon of John Chrysostom

Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He destroyed Hell when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaiah foretold this when he said, “You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.” Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with. It was in an uproar because it is mocked. It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed. It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated. It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive. Hell took a body, and discovered God. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see. O death, where is thy sting? O Hell, where is thy victory? Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down! 7 Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and life is liberated! Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!