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Lent 1A

You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.


Forty days and forty nights (CH 337 / MP 160) would be very appropriate to mark the first Sunday of Lent, particularly for those who weren’t at an Ash Wednesday service, and it relates to the Gospel. There is also a version in contemporary language from Jubilate. Jesus, lover of my soul (CH 490 / MP 372) would be another option to set the tone for the season. It can be more challenging to find songs for bands which set an appropriate tone for the season but New every morning (CCLI) would have an interesting link to the Old Testament and Epistle while being more reflective while Lord I need you (CCLI) and Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite) speak of praising God throughout the challenging times in life.

For congregations who don’t sing a full setting of the mass every week, one good way to distinguish Lent as a season is to sing a Kyrie as a response to the prayer of confession. This may be unfamiliar liturgically in some traditions but fits the readings well as Psalm 51 sets the tone for the season. CH4 offers three contrasting options which are all easy to pick up with James MacMillan’s Lord, have mercy (CH 648), the Ukranian Orthodox Kyrie eleison (CH 776) and John Bell’s call and response Kyrie eleison (CH 777). This is also a great chance to learn a song from other parts of the world and Khudaayaa, raeham kar (WGRG / PFAS 51G) Ya Tuhanke (WGRG) are from Pakistan and Indonesia, places we rarely sing songs from. Both can be sung in English but try to imitate the slides on the recording of the first which is an important part of the style. Kyrie eleison, have mercy (MP 1321 / Townend) and Kyrie eleison (CCLI) are more suited to worship bands and could be used in full or just a single verse/chorus while Lord have mercy (Resound) would suit a variety of instrumentations. Create in me a clean heart O God (PFAS 51F) isn’t a Kyrie but is also from Psalm 51 and could also be an appropriate response to prayers of confession and Hear the song of our lament (Resound) would be an interesting song to use if you wanted to intentionally bring a whole of creation perspective.


There are not many settings of Psalm 32 to choose from but You are my hiding place (MP 793 / CCLI / PFAS 32B) has become a classic over the last couple of decades and could work either as a responsorial setting or as a stand alone song. Then at last (Kimbrough) is a great alternative for those who want to sing the full psalm while I turn to you, Lord (GIA) is another option for singing it responsorially, while you could also use any of the Kyries above as a response.


The first Sunday of Lent is spent with Jesus in the wilderness and there are two broad categories of songs we can consider here. Firstly, we can consider songs which explore the narrative of the story such as Jesus, tempted in the desert (CH 338), Jesus, in the desert (Hope) and Jesus in the desert (Jubilate). Secondly, there are songs which look more at the temptations and challenges which we face ourselves, including hymns such as When we are tested (Hope) sung to Slane, Love which understands (WGRG) and Look on my heart, O Lord of light and dark (Jubilate) and songs more suited to bands such as You lead us through the wilderness (Resound), Desert song (CCLI) and Before the throne of God above (CH 466 / MP 975). It’s also worth noting Seek ye first the kingdom of God (CH 641 / MP 590) which links to v4 of this passage.

There are a number of songs which pick up on the explicit link made in the Epistle between the Adam and Christ, including Praise to the holiest in the height (CH 378 / MP 563), God, who made the earth (CH 228) and There in God’s garden (Hymnary). You could also use songs with a more general focus on our sin and Christ dying to save us such as Jesus, lover of my soul (CH 490 / MP 372), Lord Jesus, think on me (CH 491), How deep the Father’s love for us (CH 549 / MP 988 / Townend), This is amazing grace (CCLI) or Behold the holy Lamb of God (CH 389).


Throughout these Lenten days and nights (Hymnary) or Lord, who throughout these forty days (Hymnary) would explicitly send you on the way for the forty days of Lent ahead. We could also focus on how Jesus can help us to overcome sin and temptation with What a friend we have in Jesus (CH 547 / MP 746), O Love, how deep, how broad, how high (CH 354), Yet not I but through Christ in me (CCLI), His mercy is more (CCLI) and I stand amazed in the presence (MP 296 / Hymnary) or it’s contemporary version I stand amazed (How marvellous) (CCLI).

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