My friend who is a worship leader in a big Anglican Church is looking for help in finding some core songs for her Church to use on the subjects of Justice, Fellowship and Ministry. Does anyone have any ideas on good songs to suggest ...please?
You really like to ask hard questions, don't you?
Those three subjects are about the weakest among songs written for congregational use. My hymnal has none on Justice, two on Fellowship, and though there are a gazillion on commitment, they are almost all about getting one to the point of decision for commitment, not about the actual joy and purpose of service. There are other reasons for this song vacuum, one possibly being that the subjects demand more depth and lengthy poetry than in a simple song of praise.
I am really glad that there is a church that is interested in using music to help us understand these important components of Christian life. My gut response is "let's write some!", but that doesn't really answer your question, unless other readers have some already written and looking for a place to be sung. I have a few myself, but could use more information as to the nature of what you are looking for.
Maybe first it would be good to establish -- what are the cultural horizons of this particular Anglican church? Are you looking for contemporary-style songs that will blend or contrast with the Liturgy? Are you looking for songs about Justice that really hit hard where it counts -- helping the disadvantaged, having mercy?
A few thoughts, at least:
Justice: The hymn, "Lead On, O King Eternal" Powerful, powerful melody which carries just as powerful a text "... for not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums / with deeds of love and mercy the heavenly kingdom comes."
"Days of Elijah" (Robin Mark). I wouldn't be surprised if you find more good songs on Justice among the Irish and what they have been through.
Fellowship: "All Who Are Thirsty" (Brenton Brown) not specifically about fellowship, but it seems to call to the Body as much as to individuals (unlike many contemporary invitational songs).
A song such as "For These Reasons" can be given an atmosphere of fellowship by the expedient of changing "I" to "we" (this could be done with a number of songs, but can make the poetry clumsy).
Ministry & Fellowship: Hillsongs' "Blessed" (a retelling of Psalm 84 and how ministry flows from worship to the outside world). I've noticed that quite a few of the songs from Darlene Zschech and her pastor, Mr. Houston, reflect the idea that there may be a world outside the church to which the church is somewhat relevant. "The Potter's Hand" might be an example.
"He Reigns" -- Peter Furler a picture of a world united in praise and love
"History Maker" (Martin Smith) a motivational song towards boldness in ministry
"I Am Free" (Jon Egan) may look like a lot of hopping around, but in the proper context could make a strong statement of purpose in ministry, and Christly attitude.
"Saviour King" (Mia Fieldes) Ministry
I wrote a song called "Reconciliation", which is posted on YouTube, and possibly on my Profile, that speaks of the kind of fellowship we ought to have, and its relationship to the Eucharist (sorry - I haven't learned how to do links yet).
So many songs are about preparation for ministry rather than ministry itself. Perhaps this is because if we get into the "ministry itself", we may be bragging about worthy deeds and accomplishments we have done (really or vicariously).
I'm an Evangelical, but am just as "all ears" towards what other folks have to say in response to this question.
I agree with Greg - there's almost nothing on those themes out there! I don't suppose this particular church is doing "Purpose Driven life" stuff at the moment?? Only, this sounds a familiar problem.
On the "Justice" theme, one obvious one that he missed is "God of Justice" by Tim Hughes. There's also a kids song, "Jesus never never never turned anyone away", though I don't know who wrote it! "I the Lord of Sea and Sky" has some of the right sort of themes running through it.
On the "ministry" theme, I think there's a few songs which have the "I will work / live for him" sort of theme: for example Be thou my vision, May the words of my mouth (Hughes again), Jesus take me as I am (Dave Bryant), I will offer up my life (Matt Redman).
Fellowship songs went out of fashion in the early 80s. If you're prepared to look through early Songs of Fellowship books, there are songs such as "As we are gathered", "Jesus stand among us", "Brother, Sister let me serve you" (could also be used in ministry context), "Praise God for the body", and (aaaaargh) "Bind us together". The later "Songs of Fellowship" books are obviously mis-named and should be reported to Advertising Standards.
Oh, and there is the gratuitous song plug.... we use "Our hope is in the Lord" (a song on my page) quite a lot in the context of fellowship / what our common hope is. There's a pdf of the music on my page too.
Quite a few people, particularly those discipled in the "me, me, and, oh yes, me" movement, may have never heard "Bind Us Together" (I also say 'aaaargh'). Daniel, me too -- I really began to miss the swaying and the hands-across-the-aisle when the Let's Rock For A Great Big CEO God movement began in the 80's.
Thanks for the titles - many of those were unfamiliar to me. Uh-oh... "Sons of God, hear His holy word / gather round the table of the Lord" just beubbled up out of nowhere in my mind. If you want to research super-oldies, you might find someone in the church who has, gathering dust near their piano, or in their guitar case, some of those floppy, spiral-bound or Ibico-bound books that once populated pew racks, until they became too numerous and dog-eared for comfort.
Not that I'm a sentimentalist; a good song is a good song.
Part of the trouble I have is that, unfortunately, many of the older songs (not all of them) do sound a bit dated (yes, I remembered another one too.... ever heard "Jesus put this song into our hearts" ??). But, then, it somehow seems really difficult to write a "fellowship" song in a more modern style and for it to sound "right". I actually think there is something to do with this more recent style of music that encourages lyrics of the "me, me, and, oh yes, me" type. I don't think I can really explain why this is.... I am just hoping that someone, somewhere comes up with a way of expressing important themes such as unity, fellowship, the body of Christ in a way that works, but doesn't sound like Bind us together.....
Casting Crowns has a song that speaks of service / ministry. I'm not sure but I think the title is "If We Are The Body", great song "Your Love Oh Lord" by Third Day has a line in the chorus about "...justice flows like the oceans tide." Not sure if that is what your looking for but still a great song.
Here's one I love. It's not your 'normal' p/w song and not all praise teams would be able to pull it off, but it touches me more than most of what I hear. It's from far and away my favorite p/w cd "The Spirit, The Water And The Blood" by Ryan Delomore. The cd is well worth the price as the chords and lyrics are imbedded in the cd to be pulled out on your computer.
You came for the lost
The sick and the blind
With salvation and hope
You gave to us free so what will we do
With this treasure we hold
Let justice roll on like a river
Let mercy shine bright as the sun
Take care of the orphan and widow
Take care of our own flesh and blood
‘Cause this is the way
That You’ve called us to love
To share what we have
With the hungry and poor
Put clothes on the naked
And heal up the broken and torn
True religion True religion