The best way I know to express the joy of being forgiven is through song. I've been excited to find and compose music that celebrates God's unconditional love and boundless grace, names its power to liberate and lift us, and then invites us to share it the blessing with others.
Behold, I Make All Things New - John Bell
This jaunty tune with upward-bounding leaps is based on the promise of Revelation 21, "See, I am making all things new."
Gloria a Dios/Glory to God - Lima Liturgy
This shortened setting of the traditional Gloria is from the ecumenical Lima Liturgy. It is easily taught through echo patterns and the final section builds beautiful harmony through simple, layered patterns. This is a very approachable piece to teach and sing in Spanish.
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah - African-American Spiritual
This well-known Spiritual gives voice to the experience of being freed from the shackles of slavery, physical and spiritual. It is easily harmonized and verses can be repeated or added extemporaneously. This tune, like many from African-American musical traditions, can be sung at multiple tempos and means something different when sung fast or slow. So they can breathe and flow with the liturgy in a profound way.
Glory to God, Whose Goodness Shines on Me - Paul Vasile
Published in Glory to God, the new hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (USA), this uplifting, Gospel-style response can be used as an Assurance of Pardon, a song of praise, or even a Doxology.
I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me - African American Spiritual
Whether this Spiritual is sung a cappella or with accompaniment, its powerful message of hope and liberation is clear. Like many pieces from the African-American canon, it can be sung at multiple tempos and verses can be repeated or added.
Know That God Is Good - Democratic Republic of the Congo (Swahili), transcr. by John Bell
This tune from central Africa is quickly learned and harmonized. Verses can also be repeated or added extemporaneously. This is an approachable piece to teach and sing in Swahili.
We Are Forgiven, Loved, and Free - Paul Vasile
See my blog post for more about this Gospel music-inspired song.
We Will Lay Our Burden Down - John Bell
This tune has a similar feel to Glory, Glory, Hallelujah and is excellent for Eastertide or seasons focused on discipleship. The verse traces a rich progression through grief to hope.
Are there songs your community sings that help you to experience forgiveness in new and meaningful ways? Please share them in the comments section.