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12 perfect songs for your Brexit or Bremain worship set-list

Calling all worship leaders - what will your post-EU referendum Sunday set-list look like? Jon March has some suggestions

So apparently there's some kind of big decision we voters are faced with on Thursday. In case you've been living under a rock for the last 6 months or maybe you've (understandably) been sticking your fingers in your ears all this time, there's a referendum on our membership of the EU and it's pretty big deal.

Churches up and down the country have had different ways of approaching the issue. Some have preached on it and many have prayed for it. But whatever the result why not respond on Sunday with a worship setlist that befits the result.

Inspired by an 'EU referendum' prayer meeting held at my parents' house where we were wondering what songs to sing, I posted on Facebook asking for suggestions. 84 comments later, here are my favourites for a 'post-referendum setlist'. Making it slightly more difficult to sing, as I write this my tongue is firmly in cheek.

One final note before we begin: As we anticipate our choice on Thursday and whatever the result, there will be more than an element of uncertainty about what the future holds for us as a nation and our role in a global community. So it seems that perhaps most honest thing any of us could sing, whatever our leaning, is that old Irish hymn 'I Cannot Tell'.

Click the titles to listen to the individual songs or click here to access the full playlist

Here's what a Post-Referendum worship setlist could look like if we REMAIN:

1. Hope and Glory

No, not the patriotic anthem sung at the Last Night of the Proms, but instead, the anthemic song sung at the last night of Christian festivals. Hope-filled lines like 'Onl EU can move the mountains. Onl EU can heal our land...' places all of our metaphorical British eggs in one big European basket. Alongside some French bread and a large German Bratwurst.

2. Guide me O thou great [remainer]

One for the Welsh worshippers amongst us. Although it has to be said, the second line 'pilgrim through this barren [political] land[scape]' may not flow quite as well as the original.

3. Better is one day in your [European] courts

Depending on where you get your information, anywhere between 10% and 70% of UK laws are formed in European courts. Call me picky, but that's quite a margin of difference. Well, if we end up remaining this is the song for those who like their bananas just that little bit straighter and their hoovers less sucky.

4. Draw me close to EU

In the aftermath of a Bremain vote, this would be a reflective yet challenging choice that will provoke some to become tight-lipped and cause others to fall to their knees praying for an 'ever-closer' union. 

5. Oceans

Now strictly speaking it may only be a 20.6 mile stretch of water, and called a 'channel' but it's an ocean to us. With a remain vote those words 'Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders' is exactly what puts the collywobbles in the Brexit camp. If you're a Brexiteer then trust should be very much with borders and borders that are better controlled by big scary dogs and retina scanners.

6. Remain

Ben Cantelon's 2010 offering is a great song to end any Bremain worship set. The first verse lyrics, 'You loved me from the start. You never change. Through the highs and lows. As seasons come and go. You never fail' are surely too much for even the most ardent remain supporter. Hyperbole aside, it's the last word of this song that makes this the perfect closer.

Here's what a Post-Referendum worship setlist could look like if we BREXIT:

1. We must go

A simple yet defiant message which, should there be a decision for Brexit, speaks of the urgency of lancing ourselves from the clutches of Europe. Should the Bremain camp be victorious then this may be the worshipping equivalent of playing 'The Sex Pistols' at top volume. 

2. There must be more than this

In the event of a Brexit vote, this song inspires a vision of a better future. For the sake of unity you may want to leave out the 'stir it up in our hearts' bridge. For a few Sundays at least. We've all had quite enough stirring for now, thank you very much.

3. 10,000 Reasons

A post-Brexit Sunday worship set would be incomplete without this modern-day Redman classic. I have no idea how many laws would be affected by a Brexit vote (does anyone?) but 10,000 seems like a big number to me - which would give 10,000 reasons for Leave campaigners to celebrate. And anyway, regardless of the eventual outcome, all congregations across the land will be united in their memory of voting day itself when together they sing the words 'And on that day. When my strength is failing. The end draws near. And my time has come.'

4. O Come [Out] all Ye Faithful

Christmas is always a great time to reflect back on the year that was. So 6 months after a Brexit vote, it would seem appropriate to get into the Christmas spirit by carolling our way into an increasingly independent 2017. Joyful and triumphant.

5. No longer slaves

There is nothing quite like the taste of freedom - however unknown that taste maybe. It's a bit like eating olives. You feel like you should like the taste because you're an adult now, but you secretly wonder whether people are tasting something different from you. Or maybe that's just me. Our transatlantic brethren at Bethel help us breathe a collective sigh of relief, although the line 'I'm no longer a slave to fear' should maybe give us all something to think about whichever way we voted.

6. Can a nation be changed?

A perfect way to end a post-Brexit worship set. A song that speaks to the desire for something new - as yet unseen. And Brexit would certainly be that - new and as yet unseen. 'We're on our kneeeee-eeees, we're on our knees again' seems like an apt description of the posture most of us have been brought to over these last weeks - perhaps not in prayer as much we should have been.

Rev'd Jon March is Vicar at St Luke's in Kentish Town, London. He tweets @jonmarch

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