Write your own Songs for Ascension and Pentecost

[notice]Hugh Wetmore is a songwriter and student of worship trends. He invites you to join the worship conversation by commenting on his monthly column.[/notice]

You are a Worship Leader who loves Jesus and gets absorbed in meditation on every aspect of His life among us here on earth. You are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit at these Seasons of “Ascension” and “Pentecost”. You rebel against the monotony of the same old Worship Songs every Sunday … “You are awesome”and “I bow down before Your majesty” etc etc.

You welcome the challenge of singing relevant Songs that cover the whole range of the life of Christ and the birth of the Church. But … you can’t find any contemporary worship song that sings of Jesus’ Ascension. And there are some
songs about the Holy Spirit, but so few about His coming at Pentecost. Yet the Bible is eloquent in its descriptions ~ you meditate on Luke 24:36-52 and Acts chapter 1 and 2. You are blessed in your soul!

If you can’t find ready-made songs suited to the season, write your own.
1. Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Allow your imagination to re-create in your mind the events of those momentous 10 days from the Ascension to Pentecost. Colossians 3:16 tells us to draw out of the Scripture the teachings and admonitions that flow from the narrative.
2. Write down what you hear the Spirit saying to the Church about Christ’s Ascension and His Gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
3. OR ask the preacher for the Scripture or Theme of the Sermons he will preach on these epochal Events of our Christian faith. Write down the essence of his/her message.
4. Now choose a well-known tune that captures your MOOD as you meditate on these events. It can be a tune of an existing Contemporary Worship Song, or a popular hymn, or a secular song, or a traditional folk-song. As long as it’s easily Singable by the congregation, it can be used to carry the message God wants to deliver to His people.
5. Here is the difficult part: Write Lyrics to your chosen Tune. Because this is difficult, lean heavily in faith on God for His inspirational help ~ He will give it! ‘Pray without ceasing’ as you write.
6. Fit the syllables of your lyric to the notes of the tune. Avoid squeezing many syllables into a few notes. But it is OK to sing one syllable over 2 or even 3 notes. Get a comfortable “feel” about the mixing and matching of words and tunes. If you don’t feel comfortable about the fit, the congregation won’t sing well.
7. Make sure that the natural accents of the spoken lyrics fit the rhythm of the tune. If the tune starts on a weak beat, make sure your lyric starts on a weak (“Iambic”) beat. If the tune starts on a strong beat, find an opening word with a strong (“Trochaic”) beat. Fiddle around with the words. If one word doesn’t fit, look for a synonym that will fit. Maybe change the word order. This principle applies to every line of your song.
8. Don’t expect to succeed on your first try. Most good songs are crafted, and re-crafted ~ improving all the time. Weed out the hackneyed cliches. Find new picture language to convey the message on your heart. Re-write … re-write. Until they are ready for band-practice … and for congregational singing on Sunday.
9. God has embedded the Message from His Word in your heart. Expect God to embed this Message into the hearts of the Congregation as they sing the Word of Christ to one another. Pray with your Worship Group that this will happen!

Here are two new Songs, obviously sourced in Scripture: The first expresses the Message of the Ascension (from the vantage point of Heaven!) to the tune a good rousing hymn. (Check the Tune Index in any Hymn-book for the music titled “Regent Square”) The second describes the Day of Pentecost in terms of the Spirit’s fire-light exposing hidden sins. The tune is an American folk-song “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes”.

Thrilling through the throngs of heaven,
as they stand with bated breath,
throbs the tremor of excitement
waiting for Creation’s Head.
He has risen, He’s ascending,
fresh from vict’ry over death.

Down on earth His friends are watching Acts 1:9
as they see their Master rise,
leaving earth with final blessing
He is headed for the skies.
He has risen, He’s ascending,
He who for their sins had died.

Trumpets herald His arrival, Rev 5
Jesus sits upon His throne!
Jubilant applause and praises
swell from those He’s made His own.
He has risen, He’s ascended,
He who did for sin atone.

Witness now His coronation,
see the sceptre of His rule. Ps 2:9
Jesus, sovereign over nations ~
enemies are His footstool. Ps 110:1
He’s ascended, crowned with glory,
Saints’ and angels’ joy is full.

Watch and see how God the Father Rev 5:5
hands to Him His secret scroll. Dan 7:13f
Only Jesus Christ is worthy,
all is under His control.
Jesus opens God’s own purpose:
He’ll achieve the Father’s goal.

Jesus, who alone is worthy, Rev 5:9,10
by His sacrificial blood,
purchased sinners from all nations
to be kings and priests for God.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
All He does is just and good.

Words: Hugh G Wetmore (c) 9.5.2005 Metre: 87 87 87
inspired by a sermon on the Ascension by Les Green
Tune: Regent Square (Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious) CD 9.12

When the Day of Pentecost was fully come
the disciples were together every one Acts 2:1
Jesus gave His Holy Spirit, Acts 2:33
gave Him freely, without merit, Acts 2:38
to empower His people till His work was done. Acts 1

With a blowing wind and tongues of fiery flame Acts 2:2
God the Holy Spirit on His people came. Acts 2:4
The dark room illuminated Acts 2:3
with a brightness God created
to reveal the hidden things of sinful shame. Eph 5:12

When the Spirit fills us we will be as light,
full of goodness and of truth and what is right. Eph 5:8,9
We’ll expose the deeds of darkness Eph 5:11
and, revealed in all their starkness, Eph 5:13
people dead in sin will find Christ is their Light. Eph 5:14

Words: Hugh G Wetmore © 2002
based on Acts 2:1-4 and Ephesians 5:8-18
Metre: 11 11 8 8 11
Tune: Traditional ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain” CD 5.10

One Comment

  1. Hello Hugh, I was at BI with Ruth and was sharing with her that over the last 30 years I have been singing Scripture the same way. Sometimes I have my own tune but this has helped me to memorize hundreds of verses. We were also at BI with Les Green :)