Recommended Songs for Reformation Day or All Saints' Day Worship Services
Songs and more for All Saints' Day and Reformation Day services.
All Saints' Day or Reformation Day
In every time and place, imperfect and broken people who have been made saints through Jesus Christ are called to offer their gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the body of Christ.
Many churches have focused on this theme on All Saints' Day (November 1), appropriating this day not as an occasion to invoke the saints but to give thanks for all who have gone before and to celebrate Christian unity with the "great cloud of witnesses" that precedes us (Heb. 12:1). All Saints Day can helpfully focus God’s grace in the lives of both well-known and ordinary, not-well-known saints. Whenever the theme of the communion of the saints is celebrated, it is important to remember that all who are united in Christ, whether dead or alive, are saints ("sanctified," made holy, to serve God) because-and only because-of the unmerited work of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In light of this, a service for All Saints’ Day could use the four marks of the church as a framework. The Nicene Creed says that, “I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” John D. Witvliet suggests that pairing each of these marks of the church with a psalm would serve as a good outline for an All Saint’s Day or Reformation Service. There are many musical settings of each psalm available. Consider:
- One: Psalm 133
- Holy: Psalm 24
- Catholic: Psalm 87
- Apostolic: Psalm 67
Recommended by staff members at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
“For All the Saints Who Showed Your Love”
Carrie Steenwyk: I appreciate the expression of gratitude for a wide variety of saints. I find myself gratefully calling to mind different people with every phrase. The shift in the last verse is also powerful because it acknowledges the on-going nature of the cloud of witnesses: We are not simply remembering people who have passed, but we acknowledging and blessing God’s work through those who are walking with us as well.
Emily Brink: John Bell expresses gratitude for all “mindful women, caring men” who “increased the Savior’s fame,” through “selfless protest, prayer and praise.”
“In the Lord I’ll Be Ever Thankful”
Emily Brink: A short gem from Taizé that encourages thankfulness even in fearful times, with the same message angels brought to so many: “Do not be afraid.”
“Now Thank We All Our God”
Betsy Steele Halstead: We remember those who have gone before us, thanking God who “has blessed us on our way,” one generation to the next.
“Blest Are They”
Kristen Verhulst: This text is based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 and reminds us that the most unlikely people are deeply loved in God’s Kingdom and will experience great reward in heaven.
Other songs to consider:
- “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” (Psalm 130), Martin Luther
- “God Is Our Refuge and Strength” (Psalm 46), Martin Luther
- “As a Deer in Want of Water” (Psalm 42), Louis Bourgeois
- “I Love Your Church, O Lord,” Timothy Dwight
- “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation,” Latin, 8th c.; tr. John Mason Neale
- “The Church’s One Foundation,” Samuel J. Stone
- “Church of God, Elect and Glorious,” based in 1 Peter 2:9-10, James E. Seddon
- “Somos uno en Cristo/We Are One in Christ Jesus,” anonymous
- “They’ll Know We Are Christians,” Peter Scholtes
- “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” John Fawcett
- “Koinonia,” V. Michael McKay
- “Holy God, We Praise Your Name,” Te Deum¸ 4th c.
- "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name"
- "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
- "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power/The Blood That Jesus Shed for Me"
- "Father, Long Before Creation"
- "What God Ordains Is Always Right" (PsH 451)
- "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
- "How Vast the Benefits Divine"
- "How Firm a Foundation"
- "God, the Father of Your People"
- "Speak, O Lord"
- "God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength"
- "God Is My Rock" (PsH 610)
- "O Christ, the Great Foundation" (SNC 177)
- "My Faith Looks Up to Thee"
- "Amazing Grace"
- "Ancient Words"
Scripture and confessional passages to consider:
- Nicene Creed
- Apostles’ Creed
- Hebrews 12:1-3
- Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 54
- Belhar Confession