Crystal Ball, March-May 2019

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons
  • This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers
  • If an elaborating post for the coming Sunday does not appear below, go to the Index pages in the menu for previous commentary

3 Mar, Ps. 99. A red-letter day? Certainly  — at least for this author, noting the foundational statement in verse 4 of this psalm that justice and equity were integral to the creation blueprint. These themes run strongly throughout the Psalter.

  • The refrain in The Emergent Psalter sits well for this purpose. Verses are sung by a cantor or group to a simplified chant on the same tune and chords.
  • An SATB home-grown song calling for a little more rehearsal is also available

Lent begins

10 Mar, Ps 91: 1-2, 9-16.

  • The PFAS setting in 91C is a nice Spanish tune, maybe a little long. Cantor needed.
  • PFAS 91D has two suitable refrains, both sung with verses to the tone provided.
  • NCH also has a simple refrain, again with verses sung to a tone or recited.
  • TiS 48 with cantor or as congregational song is a popular choice — but the language is non-inclusive and it does not even cover the Lectionary verses.
  • The next song TiS 49, a hymn without refrains, covers a little better the set verses.
  • Another simple refrain by Isaac Everett appears in The Emergent Psalter, available online.
  • For some other ideas see Singing from the Lectionary.


    • Webmaster is absent this week, so a lead volunteer is needed.
    • For the adventurous, we have a song-sheet for a 12-bar blues.
    • In years gone by we have recognised International Women’s Day (8 March) by a canticle or piece from Hildegard’s great oeuvre, but this year it is observed at SW on 3 March.
Ps. 27. ‘Psalmus David, priusquam liniretur. Dominus illuminatio mea et salus mea: quem timebo?’

17 Mar, Ps. 27. ‘God is my light and my life; whom shall I fear?’  The songs most readily presented might be:

  • TiS 16 (Willcock) Do not be afraid, with a cantor.
  • Sung or spoken verses with the Taizé chant The Lord is my light, quoting verse 1.

A home-grown setting based on half-diminished chords is nice to sing. However, it requires a little practice to tune up those unusual accidentals.

    A progression of minor seventh with flat fifth, or half-diminished chords — written as Dm7b5 or Dø. This chord is often followed by a dominant seventh with flat nine. Too much information?

March 24, Ps 63.

  • TiS 34 is a plainsong hymn that needs a little preparation.
  • PFAS 63A presents a very simple repetitive refrain, the verses sung to a tone.
  • Here, we shall assemble the faithful singers to rehearse an easy SWCC setting.

31 Mar, Ps. 32. ‘Show me which way to go’ by Isaac Everett has been our preferred song for this psalm, which appears during Lent in years A and C. (.mscz available)

7 Apr, Ps. 126. ‘Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.’ A song of release from exile, also appropriate in support of refugees around the world. Men’s group to return to a Slavonian Orthodox chant.

14 Apr, Palm Sunday. Two liturgies may be chosen:

  • Ps 118:1-2, 19-29 for the Liturgy of the Palms; The Building Block by Paul Stookey works well here (word-sheet available). It can also be chosen for Easter Sunday.
  • Ps 31:9-16 for the Passion. Try My times are in your hands in PFAS 31C.


19 Apr, Good Friday, Ps. 22. TiS 9, Why have you forsaken? is suitable if there is any singing on this day. TiS 727 is also based on this psalm.

21 Apr, Ps 118The Building Block by Paul Stookey. Many other songs can be used, such as TiS 731 and Taizé chants.

28 Apr, Ps 150. For a responsorial setting, the somewhat repetitive African-American PFAS 150B might suit. The congregational hymn in TiS 97 also rolls along well.

5 May, Ps. 30. In past years our women have rendered a fine version of this psalm, ‘You turned my lament’ , to the South Woden Communion Chant.

12 May, Ps. 23. Many settings available, of which El Señor es mi pastor, presented by our men’s voice group, is a firm favourite.

The urban shepherd illustrated at right was a surprise at a street market in Bruges. In quite a different style and era, see also the illuminated or historiated capital shown above (Ps 27) which shows the anointing of David the shepherd.

19 May, Ps. 148. TiS 94 by John Bell or an easy responsorial setting led by a cantor or group:

26 May, Ps 67. The Everett refrain May God be gracious can be sung as a round, and as a blessing after prayers or at the conclusion.


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