Pairings (2)

When planning corporate worship, I can rarely resist stringing together songs that relate in one way or another.  Starting yesterday, I’m sharing three pairs of songs from Great Songs of the Church (No. 2 or Revised–either book) that a church or small group might use in combination.

It’s almost humorous, in my tiny little world that eschewed all sentimental heaven songs that use the word “yonder” and “by and “by’ and such, that yesterday’s and today’s song pairs have a lot to do with heaven.  Maybe it’s my perpetual longing for something more that leads to this kind of content-building.

  • Children of the Heav’nly King
  • “Holy” from “On Zion’s Glorious Summit’

This pair is a deeper, more profound set of songs than yesterday’s (“To Canaan’s Land” and “There Is a Habitation”).  “Children of the Heav’nly King” is rarely sung anymore, and that’s a real shame.  At one point I would have counted it among my top ten, but people don’t tend to catch on to songs that don’t have choruses/refrains.  Anyway, here are some of the best lines from it.

Children of the heavenly King,
As ye journey, sweetly sing;
Sing your Savior’s worthy praise,
Glorious in His works and ways

Lift your eyes, ye sons of light,
Zion’s city is in sight:
There our endless home shall be,
There our Lord we soon shall see.

I particularly loved the pairing that has the next-to-last stanza coming just before the eminently worshipful sanctus to “On Zion’s Glorious Summit Stood a Num’rous Host Redeemed by Blood”:

Holy, holy holy Lord.
God of Hosts, on high adored.
Who like me Thy praise should sing,
O Almighty King?
Holy, holy holy Lord.
God of Hosts, on high adored.
Holy . . . holy . . . holy.

Isn’t that inspiring?  Speaking of the moment on our journey when we realize that we will soon see the Lord, and moving seamlessly into worship of the purest variety, worship that seems to catch a vision of that same Lord?

Again, consider the key of each song when attempting to move seamlessly from one to another.  This is just as important a consideration in non-instrument church as in those that have piano or other instruments to bridge things tonally.  In this case, the first song is in G, and the second, in Ab.  It can be effective to sing a half-step higher as you move to a different song, but in this case, it isn’t necessary.  One could keep them both in G (no lower), or both in Ab (a little high in terms of tessitura in the first song, but doable), or modulate–whatever your preference.  Be aware of the tonal connection as you lead, while you also show what’s more important–the conceptual connection.  Move from “there our Lord we soon shall see” to “holy, holy” with intention.

Tomorrow:  “Master, the Tempest” and a different sort of “peace” song


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