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Lent 2A

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


The God of Abraham praise (CH 162 / MP 645) could be a good opening hymn if you want to link to either the Old Testament or Epistle, while By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty) could also link to these. As we are in Lent then you could also use songs that are not too lively and which touch on God being there for us throughout our life, whatever we have done, such as Great is thy faithfulness (CH 153 / MP 200), There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (CH 187 / MP 683), His mercy is more (CCLI) or Goodness of God (CCLI).

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.


I to the hills will lift mine eyes (CH 81) is a classic metrical setting of the psalm from the Scottish Psalter while I lift my eyes to the quiet hills (MP 281 / Jubilate) and Beyond the highest hills (Hope) are options with more contemporary lyrics. Psalm 121 (I lift my eyes) (CCLI) and I lift my eyes up to the mountains (MP 1294 / CCLI / PFAS 121H) would both be good options for bands. For something completely different stylistically you could look at either the wonderful Gospel song Total Praise (PFAS 121B / Hymnary) or the lively Korean song Naega sanŭl hyanghayŏ / To the hills I lift my eyes (STB 53 / GP3 62 / MV 129 / PFAS 121F / Hymnary).


There is a huge amount packed into the Gospel passage and many different approaches to it so it’s only possible to suggest a few highlights here. The kingdom of God (Taizé) would link to the early part of the passage while some songs such as Spirit of the living God (CH 619 / MP 613), Gracious Spirit, hear our pleading (CH 613), Holy Spirit, living breath of God (MP 1183 / CCLI / Getty), As the wind song through the trees (Hymnary) or Fresh wind (CCLI) could tie in with the the Spirit focus. Perhaps unsurprisingly there are a lot of songs directly inspired by John 3:16, although the most famous is probably the choral setting by Stainer (Hymnary). The short chant God so loved the world (link) is set to music from Beethoven’s “Pathétique Sonata”, while God so loved (CCLI) and God so loved the world (Common) are more recent worship songs. God loved the world so much (WGRG recording and lyrics) is set to the tune Wondrous Love and has a real strength when sung unaccompanied.

Songs about the importance of faith would link well to the Epistle, such as By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty) or Cornerstone (CCLI) which is a more personal response. You could also use a credal statement as a response with some interesting options such as the contemporary This I believe (The Creed) (CCLI) and We believe in one God (Unshakeable) (Resound) or We believe: Maranatha (STB) from Asia which is a spoken text with an easy sung response in parts, and If you believe and I believe (CH 771) from Zimbabwe.

Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t many songs which directly reference the story of Abraham with The God of Abraham praise (CH 162 / MP 645) being the obvious choice. God it was (WGRG) and God of Abraham lead us (OCP) both look at stories of God calling people, beginning with Abraham and Sarah, with the former sung to Holy Manna or Lewis Folk Melody.


All of the passages today can lead us to finish by declaring our faith in God and there are some classics which would be very appropriate such as At the name of Jesus (CH 458 / MP 41), Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51) and O Jesus, I have promised (CH 644 / MP 501) while Build my life (CCLI) and In Christ alone (MP 1072 / CCLI / Getty) would be some more contemporary options. There are a couple of songs which specifically tie into the Old Testament such as Promises (CCLI) and To Abraham and Sarah (Hymnary / link). The latter puts us into those generations who follow Abraham and would work well as a sending song sung to Thornbury.

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