Contemporary Hymns, Religious Songs
Welcome to my page of free downloads of contemporary hymns and religious songs. Also included are poems, of which deals with outreach for the lost. Please have a look and download anything you like, except if you going to use it for any sort of profit. Contact me if that is the case. If you use something please consider making a small donation to Church Matters Solutions to help cover our administrative costs. We are not looking to make money, but on the other hand we are not looking to lose money either.
Luther Quotes on Singing
“And these songs were arranged in four [and five] parts to give the young—who should at any rate be trained in music and other fine arts—something to wean them away from love ballads and carnal songs and to teach them something of value in their place, thus combining the good with the pleasing, as is proper for youth.”
“After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he
should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming [the Word of God] through music and by providing sweet melodies with words.”
“For God has cheered our hearts and minds through his dear Son, whom he gave for us to redeem us from sin, death, and the devil. He who believes this earnestly cannot be quiet about it. But he must gladly and willingly sing and speak about it so that others also may come and hear it.”
Luther (1523) Formula missae [his order for the Latin Mass]:
“I also wish that we had as many songs as possible in the vernacular which the people could sing during mass.”
Links to Hymns, etc.
Next is a complete listing with links. Following that is the history of how each of these came about.
He is Coming (pdf), (Advent choir chorale)
O Wondrous Love, a Lenten hymn, tune is O Lamb of God (Text only)
Wondrous Love, A Lenten hymn, tune is God So Loved the World That He Gave (Music and text)
By most definitions of “contemporary” the works offered above meet that standard since I am still alive and kicking, etc. Some of the offerings are hymns and some are religious songs, which can be used in a variety of ways. Hymns are for services, religious songs are for other events.
The following poems are yours to us as you please.
Each of the items listed have a story behind them mainly because I am not a trained musician, but I do have a small degree of talent writing poems and hymn text; I have written these totally from something that inspired me to do so, with one exception. Usually, it was the turn of a phrase heard at just the right moment that just wouldn’t get out of my head until I started writing down bits and pieces and finally working it into a more or less a completed work. I have been known to go back years later and sharpen some of them because it just didn’t seem finished.
However, there was one exception to my being “inspired” in order to write. That story was the occasion of the installation of a pastor in our congregation. Being in the choir the organist approached me a couple of weeks before the 2006 event and looked up to me (she was less than 5 ft.) and suggested that I write a special hymn for the choir to sing at the installation. I looked her in the eye and explained, “You don’t understand I write totally from inspiration, I am not a trained musician.” She looked back at me and quick as the blink of an eye said, “Well, go home and get inspired!” Not wanting to disappoint her I said I would give it a try. Well to my amazement that very evening I sat down and picked a hymn from TLH to use for the music (I don’t write music) and started writing text. The Lord must have been with me on this one because my text fit the music perfectly. In less than three hours I had four verses for the hymn Come Brother, Come Sister and also another four verses using the same tune for a special song for the choir to sing to welcome everyone to join us for the reception in the Fellowship Hall. It all worked out well and it was all great fun!
I started writing my first text in the mid-1960’s out of necessity for the youth of our church. Two pieces came out of that experience, Calling On The Lord and a Here I am, Lord both set to popular folk tunes of the day. In the early 70’s another “catch” phrase during a sermon caught my attention, which resulted in the hymn Walking In Your Spirit. This piece took years of tinkering because the music wasn’t right as I wanted something that sounded syncopated in some places. (Finally, in 2002, I adapted a hymn I heard the organist play one day that fixed my discomfort, at least enough to publish it.)
After retiring from my paying vocation in 1997 I developed another communion hymn using the tune from Rock of Ages to create Wash Me Lord (1998), which also had some subsequent “tuning.” It was during this same period the poem, How Long, Lord, How Long?, a poem that came into being. Both of these are my personal favorites. The opportunity came up in 2002 to write new text for the old favorite hymn Amazing Grace, which I titled Amazing Praise and has a Trinity flavor to it. Also, during this time our church was having a special emphasis on discipleship, which inspired me to write this text Wake Up, Wake up for Jesus, sung to the tune everyone knows, Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus. Later this was used as an optional song sung before Lesson 4 of CLCC’s seminar on Evangelism, Outreach and Affirmation as sort of a “7th inning stretch” in mid-afternoon to make sure everyone is awake for the last lesson. 🙂
Following 2006 there was a “drought” of a few years before I started writing text set to The Church’s One Foundation in 2016. This drought was mostly brought on by the fact I was traveling extensively teaching seminars for CLCC. In a few months after leaving leadership in CLCC I had My Lord, My Savior simmering on the back burner and finished it in June 2016.
In Dec 2016 and Jan 2017 a new project started after I was awakened at 4:30am with words going through my head that formed a series of couplets for the basis of another religious poem or hymn. As it turned out some of the seemingly good lines were forgotten by the time I got my computer up and running. The result was a set of verses set to an 8-count meter. Next I looked for a public domain hymn with the same or similar meter and and settled on #717 in LSB, Eternal Father (Navy Hymn). Being a sailor in my younger days that was a hymn I really liked. While living in Annapolis in the 90’s it was also played as the recessional hymn for the funeral of a Navy officer friend of ours. With all that heaped together I was really overcome with emotion and even now I get very sentimental when I sing it.
After some tinkering around an idea emerged to do something different and make a choir Advent chorale out of it using a second arrangement. As it turns out the third verse of my poem actually had a 10-count meter due to the words I wanted to express. So, off to find another public domain hymn and I came up with Abide With Me. That hymn goes back to my grade school days as it was one of my practice hymns while I was learning to play the trumpet. Are you feeling the nostalgia yet? Thus my first choir anthem was born He is Coming, which uses one tune for the first two verses and one tune for the third verse.
In Feb 2017, true to form, I awoke at 4:30am with another tune and text roaming around my head. Finally, I realized the tune was Lamb of God, but with new text. The finished product became two Lenten hymns. I prefer the first one written to Lamb of God, but I don’t hold the copyright, but if you have copyright use of the music in the LSB you’re in. The second version uses a public domain hymn God So Loved the World That He Gave. Thus you see the text for one and the complete music and text for the other.
Who knows, perhaps one day I will get inspired to add something else to the list, but for now this is it. Not to say I don’t have a couple of uncompleted efforts resting in the internals of my computer waiting for me to feel the urge to complete them. If you can offer some improvements to any of these materials please feel free to contact me.
In His Service,