What hymns to use?
As well as the hymns already available in Singing the Faith, take a look at Carolyn Gillette’s reflection on words of the prophet Joel (“Return to me with all your heart”) in her hymn, “Ash Wednesday comes, and Lord, we hear”. And for some contextual thoughts around Ash Wednesday, see Beginning Lent – some thoughts about Ash Wednesday.
On our own New Hymns page David Lee offers a paraphrase of Psalm 130, Out of the depths I cry to you, suitable for Ash Wednesday and throughout Lent. In its final verse, we may perceive the glimmering light of Easter drawing near:
May we, your people, joined in one accord,
out from the depths renew our hope, O Lord.
May we in you find redemption and mercy:
Lord, hear our cry, our deepest song.
A number of hymns published here on Singing the Faith Plus explore the imagery and symbolism of deser places: Lord save us from the desert (Rachel Parkinson); You call us to the wilderness (Paul Wood and Ian Worsfold); and Joy Dine’s popular God who sets us on a journey. Together, they convey the challenges and opportunities of the inward (and outward) journeying we associate with the season of Lent.
For use later in the season, there is a thoughtful and memorable hymn based on the events of Maundy Thursday by Sue McCoan and Matthew Prevett, Dusty-footed, heavy-hearted. Likewise, Domnic Grant’s O watcher in the wilderness (StF 667) draws on images from the Last Supper as well, again, from desert experiences.
In Lent in other places, we look beyond the Lent section of Singing the Faith to discover hymns suitable for this season.
Thoughtful ideas from Valerie Ruddle
On the website of our friends at ArtServe, composer Valerie Ruddle has produced an easy-to-use introduction to Singing the Faith especially suitable for this time of year. She has selected a range of hymns for Passiontide and Easter and offers suggestions of how to make varied use of the texts. Explore Valerie’s suggestions here.
Other resources for Lent
A sequence of prayers for Lent (and Easter) can be found on the Methodist Church website. Methodist Women in Britian (MWiB) have again produced a free series of reflections and Bible studies for Lent, this year around the theme Shine like Stars, which is the title of this year’s Easter Offering Service.
All We Can has developed worship materials around the theme: All Together for Justice. The service, which “connects your congregation to people in the Bible and across the world fighting injustice”, can be run during Lent, or at any other time of the year. “It also has the option to be run in conjunction with a six-week (40 day) booklet of reflections, prayers and activities, for your congregation to follow either as individuals or to use in groups.”
This year, the five week Lent Course produced by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) takes as its theme: Returning Home: Christian Faith in Encounter with Other Faiths. The authors write:
“This is not a resource that emphasises common ground or is about dialogue, but is about how Christian faith has burned brightly following an encounter with the religious other…
“When we return to the familiar, home is viewed with different eyes and a deeper, perhaps more profound, appreciation. This is why we have called this resource ‘Returning Home’. Christians who have lived alongside, and worked with, people of other faiths, often express their surprise and appreciation that their own Christian faith has been enriched by these encounters.” The five sessions focus on practises and traditions from non-Christian faiths.
Note that, this year, resources are only available as a download – there are no printed versions.