Biblical songs for worship
by John L. Bell
Here is a collection of songs which exhibit what the title says:
songs which shun dated, churchy language and instead embrace contemporary speech;
songs which prove that the southern hemisphere has more to offer than ‘Kumbaya’;
songs which take the world seriously, because God takes it seriously;
songs which allow worship to be more than predictable praise;
songs which challenge the dominance of a performance mentality … because they are meant for all to sing.
What we sing shapes what we believe – this is an incontrovertible truth as regards the song of the Church. It has led many Westerners to believe that Jesus was a silent baby (Away In A Manger) and a docile child (Once In Royal David’s City). It has suggested that militarism is an apt metaphor for discipleship (Onward Christian Soldiers) and this misconception is closely allied to decay (Abide With Me). It has also led to the assumption that, as regards religion, ‘the West is the best’ (O’er Those Gloomy Hills of Darkness, etc).
This is not to discount the value of these and other favourite texts. It is, rather, to suggest that the songs we sing reflect the theology of our times, and theology is always in process because God is always on the move.
The songs in this collection are not the antidote but rather a supplement both to traditional hymnody and to the narrow spectrum of biblical and emotional content in much praise and worship material. They are songs intended, as the title (which comes from the words of Jesus) suggests, to liberate us from limited horizons.
- Come with me (Hamba Nathi) – South Africa
- Light for our darkness
- I cried aloud to God (Psalm 77) – Hawai’i/ Scotland
- So much wrong – Palestine/ France
- Save me, O God (Psalm 69)
- Let my people go – African American
- Alleluia (Greenbelt 10)
- We worship Christ (Nzamuranza) – Mozambique
- The truth that sets us free
- Come and find rest in Christ – Singapore
- Peace I leave
- Fellow travellers
- Malembe – Democratic Republic of Congo
- We shall break bread
- How could a crowd?
- Jikelele – South Africa
- Soft falls the snow
- Blessing and honour (2012)
- I love the Lord (Psalm 116)
- Jeye Ho – India/ Scotland
- Alleluia, praise the Lord (Aleluya Y’in Oluwa) – Nigeria
See below for audio samples of the songs in this book.
There is also an audio CD of these songs being performed by the Wild Goose Collective.