Keeping worship fresh and the worshipper engaged can be as easy as selecting a favorite hymn lyric to create a short litany or responsive reading. It’s so easy to do, remembering these three simple guidelines:

1. Find a hymn lyric that SPEAKS to you and others in your congregation. This may not be the best way to introduce new hymnody, but I certainly wouldn’t automatically rule it out.

2. Find scripture passages RELEVANT to the hymn topic. You’ll find most hymns are well-substantiated by a number of Old and New Testament scripture passages.

3. Select scripture passages that AMPLIFY, ECHO, and REITERATE the hymn lyric – especially if the lyric contains archaic language, you’ll want to amplify it for renewed understanding.

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
Henry Alford (1844)
A responsive reading by John Parker (ASCAP)

Leader:​​ Come, ye thankful people, come

Congregation:​ We enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise!

Leader:​​ Raise the song of harvest home

Congregation:​ With Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to God

Leader:​​ All are safely gathered in

Congregation:​ God has covered us with His feathers, and under His wings we find refuge

Leader:​​ Ere the winter storms begin

Congregation:​ I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Leader: ​​God, our Maker doth provide

Congregation:​ Every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights.

Leader:​​ For our wants to be supplied

Congregation:​ Our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

Leader:​​ Come to God’s own temple, come

Congregation:​ I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

Leader:​​ Raise the song of harvest home

Congregation:​ For we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Leader:​​ Come, Ye thankful people, come

All:​​ Come, give thanks to the Lord and sing!

Suggested related anthems:


John Parker
A native of Louisiana, John Parker holds the BM in Vocal Performance from Louisiana College and the MM in Choral Conducting from Northwestern State University. Composing primarily for church and school choirs, John’s 600+ choral works are published by numerous state-side companies. Active as a choral clinician and lecturer, Mr. Parker is author of How to Start a Fine Arts Academy in Your Church and numerous drama collections. John and his family make their home in Austin, TX where John has served as Associate Pastor of Worship & Music at Austin Baptist Church since 2014.

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