In Fall 2020, the newest resource in the Evangelical Lutheran Worship resource family will be made available. All Creation Sings, a liturgy and song supplement, will include liturgies, prayers, and approximately two hundred hymns and songs.
Conversation, consultation, and dedicated research led to the development of this resource. In the nearly fifteen years since the publication of Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW), a rich abundance of new texts have been written and new tunes composed. While ELW continues to be a principal resource for this church, many of the hymns and songs in All Creation Sings reflect newer expressions that have emerged in the years since ELW was prepared. Hand in hand with ELW, All Creation Sings will offer diverse assembly song that enriches our worship by:
- providing additional options for singing throughout the liturgical year
- offering variety in style and format, including a number of short songs for contemplative prayer, gathering, and sending
- addressing topics and timely concerns including creation care, lament in times of crisis, healing/wholeness, and justice/peace
- bringing forward a number of hymns and songs from collections such as This Far by Faith, Libro de Liturgia y Cántico, Singing in Community, Singing Our Prayer, and others
About the title
The title, All Creation Sings, evokes a theme that permeates the scriptures, especially in the psalms but beginning even with Genesis 1, where the Word that brings creation into being has often been interpreted as a sung “Let there be . . . ”. Psalm 96 is an example in which the sky, the earth, the sea, the field, and the forest are invited into sung rejoicing at God’s coming. The vision at the close of the scriptures, in Revelation 5:13, articulates this theme with cosmic breadth: “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, ‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’”
Recent years have seen a rapid increase in awareness and alarm concerning the impact of human activity over the past two hundred years on this planet’s ability to sustain the fragile balance necessary for the life God planted here, including human life. All Creation Sings will provide new resources that remind us of our integral part within the whole of creation, inspire our wonder at the gifts of creation, and help us voice our thanks for these gifts, joining the rest of creation’s song even as the cosmos joins ours.
Yet the song of creation and our song with it, especially in this time, goes beyond rejoicing and thanksgiving. Romans 8:22-23 suggests another kind of song: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, . . . groan inwardly while we wait for . . . redemption.” The song of all creation, and thus our song too, includes words and melodies of lament, of indignation, of pleading, and ultimately of hope in God’s presence and mercy.
The hymns and songs included in All Creation Sings will help our assemblies give praise and express lament, as well as being a resource for our sung prayer and proclamation across the whole course of the church’s year and around the word and sacraments. Look to the ELCA Worship Blog and ELCA Worship on Facebook for more about the contents of this supplemental resource in the coming months.