Updated: Mar 8, 2022
You can find a YouTube playlist here with many of the songs suggested below.
The God of Abraham praise (CH 162 / MP 645) would be an appropriate way to begin today as a link to the Old Testament and the covenant promises we see God making throughout Lent. Waiting here for you (CCLI), Great is thy faithfulness (CH 153 / MP 200) and Every promise (CCLI / Getty) are more general songs to consider on this theme while you could also consider Give thanks to God (CCLI) from some contemporary Scottish songwriters with it’s refrain of “His never ending love is steadfast and sure”
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) is more suited to worship bands and can be used either just as a chorus or else the verses can help set the context 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.
The confidence of the text of Psalm 27 has inspired many bold musical settings and there is a good selection in a range of styles. The Lord’s my light and saving health (CH 22) is a text from the Scottish Psalter with an excellent tune to match it. There are two options from the Wild Goose repertoire for this psalm, either The Lord is my light (WGRG / PFAS 27J) from the Czech Republic which is concise but full of character, or The Lord is my light (WGRG) by John Bell which is much more extended and best suited to a soloist or choir for the verses but has a wonderfully catchy chorus. If you wish to sing the psalm responsorially then there is a famous Taizé setting in two parts which would work very well, The Lord is my light, my light and salvation (PFAS 27A / Hymnary), while the The Lord is my light and my salvation (CH 23) looks complicated but is actually very simple for the congregation with just one line to sing and a good keyboard player can make it easy for the reader too. God is my light (link) would be a good option for bands while One thing I ask (CH 199 / MP 913 / PFAS 27I) and Psalm 27 (CCLI) are more reflective settings which take v4 as their starting point.
A number of contemporary writers have been inspired by today’s Gospel passage and Jerusalem, Jerusalem (WGRG), Jerusalem, Jerusalem (GIA) and Blessed is the one who comes (link) give some different options for singing Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem. The second of these is a new text for an existing tune but not one that is universally known so perhaps consider a Common Metre tune known to your congregation. St Paul (Aberdeen) could be an interesting choice give the resonance with it being linked to Psalm 122 while Martyrdom (Fenwick) could also work. As tender as a mother hen (GIA) is an interesting hymn which takes the imagery from v34 of the mother hen and looks at God’s activity as a mother animal throughout the Bible.
Stand O stand firm (WGRG) is an obvious link to the Epistle while Goodness is stronger than evil (WGRG) is another short song which could relate well. For those looking for a well loved older hymn then Fight the good fight (CH 517 / MP 143) or One more step along the world I go (CH 530 / MP 1346) are possibilities, while Build my life (CCLI) or Everlasting God / Strength will rise (CCLI) would be some options for bands.
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. The God of Sarah praise (GIA) is a rewriting of this which is worth considering as it incorporates the stories of Sarah and Hagar. God it was (WGRG) is another option which looks at stories of God calling people, beginning with Abraham and Sarah. You could also consider songs which pick up Abraham’s trust in God such as By faith (MP 1262 / CCLI / Getty) which looks at the place of faith throughout history up to the present day while Cornerstone (CCLI) is a more personal response.
The Old Testament and the Epistle can give us a sending theme of following God’s promises and the example shown to us by Christ. 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 Sarah and would work well as a sending song sung to Thornbury. To link to the Epistle a couple of songs previously suggested such as One more step along the world I go (CH 530 / MP 1346) and Build my life (CCLI) are possibilities while some more general songs picking up this theme could be All my hope on God is founded (CH 192 / MP 16) or Cornerstone (CCLI) or the short African songs Sizohamba naye / We will walk with God (CH 803), Ewe thina / We walk his way (WGRG) or Siyahamba / We are marching (CH 516 / MP 954).