The beginning of a new season of song with your church choral or instrumental program can be a time of great energy as your people gather once again to prepare for praise. New friendships are formed, new lessons are learned, and new opportunities of service are explored.

With that said, we must admit that in every choir there are people who may come to that first fall rehearsal experiencing challenging times. Certainly there will be plenty of joy, but there will also be those who are experiencing a period of anxiety or grief. Some enter the rehearsal hall with a broken heart or other emotional scars that music and community can help heal. The bonds formed from music are strong especially when joined with a message of grace and hope.

The music of our sacred traditions speak eloquently to each of these conditions, and helps the singer engage with those deeper feelings and connect with the encouraging messages of God’s promises. Music can be a unique medicine for the wounded and the weary, as well as a banner of blessings for those living in abundance.

Our music choices can reflect both of these spiritual needs in our choir and congregation. The great hymns reflect this diversity, and they have ministered in a myriad of wonderful ways to people of faith through the millennia.

To remind us of this great treasury of music and message, I have taken a time-honored passage from the book of Ecclesiastes and added an appropriate hymn after each statement. I hope this reminds us of how blessed we are to have this sacred body of work which can minister to all of the seasons of life. I’m sure your own personal list will be different from mine, and in some ways that is the miracle that is the music of our faith.

Ecclesiastes 3

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS)

A time to be born, (YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN) and a time to die; (ABIDE WITH ME)

A time to plant, (WE PLOW THE FIELDS AND SCATTER) and a time to pluck up that which is planted; (SING TO THE LORD OF HARVEST)

A time to kill, (BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC) and a time to heal; (THE GREAT PHYSICIAN)

A time to break down, (I SURRENDER ALL) and a time to build up; (THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION)

A time to weep, (WEEPING PILGRIM) and a time to laugh; (JOYFUL, JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE)

A time to mourn, (BE STILL MY SOUL) and a time to dance; (LORD OF THE DANCE)

A time to cast away stones, (I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS) and a time to gather stones together; (TREASURES IN HEAVEN)

A time to embrace, (O, LOVE THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO) and a time to refrain from embracing; (TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY)

A time to win, (FAITH IS THE VICTORY) and a time to lose; (IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL)

A time to keep, (A CHARGE TO KEEP I HAVE), a time to gather and a time to cast away; (GIVE ME JESUS)

A time to rend, (JESUS PAID IT ALL) and a time to sew; (LET STREAMS OF LIVING JUSTICE)

A time to keep silence, (LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE) and a time to speak; (LORD, SPEAK TO ME THAT I MAY SPEAK)


A time of war, (ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS) and a time of peace (PEACE, PERFECT PEACE)

Editor’s note: Please enjoy this selection from Joel Raney, There Is A Season.


Jonathan Martin received a degree in Interdisciplinary studies from Naropa University with an emphasis in World Religion and Psychology. An accomplished writer his lyrics have been set to music by composers such as Brad Nix, Victor Johnson, John Purifoy, Jon Paige and his father Joseph Martin. Jonathan lives in Austin, Texas.

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