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Lent 1C

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. An alternative way to start would be to focus on the theme from the Epistle of there being one God for all people with songs such as In Christ there is no east or west (CH 624 / MP 329), Jesus calls us here to meet him (CH 510), Let us build a house (CH 198) or All are welcome (OCP), the latter being a great alternative to “Let us build a house”.

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.


Safe in the shadow of the Lord (CH 55 / MP 583) is an excellent metrical setting for today’s psalm while Within the shelter of the Lord (PFAS 91B), set to the Scottish folk tune Ye banks and braes, offers an alternative. On eagle’s wings (OCP / PFAS 91E / Hymnary) is hugely popular song around the world that draws on this psalm for its verses. Christ will be my hideaway (CCLI / Grace) was just released last year but offers a good option for those who would like something in a worship song or contemporary hymn style. Be with me Lord (OCP / PFAS 91D) is a wonderfully soulful short chorus to consider if you would like to psalm responsorially.


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.

The Epistle has perhaps unsurprisingly inspired songs that can be quite big and bold, ranging from hymns such as the Scottish paraphrase I’m not ashamed to own my Lord (CH 645) and Victorian classic At the name of Jesus (CH 458 / MP 41) to Gospel choruses like He is Lord, he is Lord (CH 443), and contemporary hymns such as Christ our hope in life and death (CCLI) or Jesus is Lord (GSW 33 / Hymnary) from Hong Kong, to worship songs such as All hail King Jesus (CCLI) and Redeeming love (Resound).

The challenge with the Old Testament reading is that most songs which fit with it are linked to harvest although For the fruits of all creation (CH 231) can link well given the reference to “gifts to every nation” and “good we all inherit”. You could also consider offering songs such as Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (CH 201 / MP 529) and Grant now your blessing (CH 207).


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 in our own temptations with What a friend we have in Jesus (CH 547 / MP 746), O Love, how deep, how broad, how high (CH 354) and I stand amazed in the presence (MP 296 / Hymnary) or it’s contemporary version I stand amazed (How marvellous) (CCLI). These latter songs can also tie into the Epistle while some songs suggested above to link to this would also work well as sending songs, such as At the name of Jesus (CH 458 / MP 41), All hail King Jesus (CCLI) and Christ our hope in life and death (CCLI).

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