The reason I sign songs is because I can’t sing. When I do sing, it’s usually loud and indeed a joyful noise. So when I came across Emily La Branche Delikat’s paperback “Piggyback Psalms: 100+ Bible Songs to Tunes You Know” at the resource center of North Georgia’s United Methodist Church’s Annual Conference last week, I thought, “Hey! THIS I can do!” The book releases today on Amazon!
According to Emily, a Piggyback Psalm is a song that is based on a sacred song or poem from the Book of Psalms and is written or paraphrased in simple language and set to a well-known tune. Because each Piggyback Psalm is set to tunes that are already stuck in my head, it is perfect for this ‘musically less-than Jesus gal.’ There are 62 songs based on 62 Psalms written to tunes like Mary Had a Little Lamb, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, The Ants Go Marching, Are You Sleeping?, Skip to My Lou, One Little Two Little, and more. I was surprised at the number of tunes that are already stuck in my head!
Singing the psalms make the liturgy and vocabulary sticky, interactive, and easy to remember. Emily didn’t just include the psalms of joy, but also offered small portions of psalms of lament and anger. I’m glad. I believe we do our kids a disservice when we let them think that following Jesus means it’s all kumbaya. Even the VBS we used this year shared every day that in the storms of life, Jesus is there. When we sing the Psalms, we teach our children that all emotions are important and healthy. An example would be “When Life is Hard” based on Psalm 14 sung to the tune: Rock-a-bye, Baby:
When life is hard and people are mean, I can trust that God is with me. God is my refuge and my strength. Soon I will rejoice and celebrate.
I bought two copies. One for me and one for my daughter to sing with the grands. I’ll probably get more copies, because this resource is fabulous. Thank you Emily for writing, and Abingdon Press for publishing, this resource!
Bonus: In the back of the book, there is an index to align the Piggyback Psalm with the Revised Common Lectionary. There is also a tune index just in case one of the tunes just gets stuck in your head and it’s one of your favorites!
“You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you.” Psalm 118:28