Update 12/11/21: Sheet music for this song is now available at gregscheer.com.
Recently I recorded a pop punk retune of a hymn text by Bessie Porter Head. Naturally, the idea was met with some skepticism. Don’t let the style throw you off! Beneath the hood is a perfectly singable congregational song. How do I know? Because I taught it to my congregation this Sunday. By rote.
Sometimes communion takes longer than expected, so I always plan to have a few extra songs ready to go just in case. Normally I just call out a number for the people to look up in the hymnal. Other times I lead a song by rote–either something they’re likely to know by heart or a repeated call-and-response style song that doesn’t need written music.
This week I taught them the chorus of “O Breath of Life” by rote and then sang the verses for them. You can hear the congregation gain steam with each returning chorus. You see? Songs are just like people. Sometimes beneath a prickly punk facade is a placid heart of gold.