Lent 4C / Mothering Sunday

Joshua 5:9-12

Psalm 32

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32


This is Mothering Sunday and so as well as suggestions related to the lectionary there are also seasonal suggestions. You may also wish to consider intentionally choosing songs written by women (either the words, lyrics or translation) and these suggestions are marked with an asterisk.


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



Gathering


If you are opening with a focus on Mothering Sunday then For the beauty of the earth (CH 181 / MP 152) is a classic option which is a great opening song of praise while also making specific reference to families while *All things bright and beautiful (CH 137 / MP 23) is also often used. *Every new morning (CH 213) sung to Bunessan could be an alternative to these as it recognises the importance of “people who love us”. *Womb of life and source of being (CH 118) is a Trinitarian gathering song which includes many feminine images for God.


If you prefer to focus on the lectionary then there is a theme in all the readings of God’s faithfulness and *Every new morning (CH 213) would also tie in well here as would *Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite), both of which are also good general morning songs of praise. You could also consider well known songs such as Great is thy faithfulness (CH 153 / MP 200), *Shout to the Lord (MP 1003 / CCLI) and Every promise (CCLI / Getty).


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.



Word


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.



Response


Songs to consider on a Mothering Sunday theme include Mothers of faith (Gordon) which celebrates the women who have been formative in our faith journeys while We gladly celebrate and praise (STF 120) praises God for the gift of motherhood but is also sensitive to different family situations such as mothers who have lost a child or children who have never known their mother. God of Eve and God of Mary (Hope / STF 119) has a range of Christian images of motherhood ranging from Eve and Mary to mother-earth and the Church, our Mother, and could be sung to a tune such as Stuttgart. *O God of truth and glory (link) sung to Aurelia and There is a line of women (WGRG) sung to the Seven joys of Mary both look at the important roles played by women in the Bible. There are also songs which use a variety of images for God including feminine ones such as Bring many names (CH 134) and *Mothering God, you gave me birth (CH 117) which is based on a text by Julian of Norwich.


Forgiveness is your gift (CH 361) would be a beautiful response to the Gospel, speaking of the forgiveness we find from God and with hints of the party when the lost have been found. That last line also resonates strongly in Amazing grace (CH 555 / MP 31) or it’s popular Chris Tomlin version Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (MP 1151 / CCLI) while you could also consider other devotional songs such as *Just as I am, without one plea (CH 553 / MP 396). For a more explicit look at the story, Home right now (New Scottish) is written from the perspective of the prodigal son while I will arise (WGRG) considers the perspective of all three characters.


There is now a new creation (GIA) ties together the Gospel text with the Epistle and its themes of new creation and reconciliation while Christ Was Raised (Resound) is another song which can bring together some of the different themes throughout the Epistle. Other songs to consider on the new creation theme include This is a day of new beginnings (CH 526 / GIA 1 / GIA 2) which has three different melodies to choose from, Behold, behold I make all things new (WGRG) which is a great short song to teach in two parts, or classic hymns such as Love divine, all loves excelling (CH 519 / MP 449) and One more step along the world I go (CH 530 / MP 1346). On the theme of reconciliation Ososo / Come now O prince of peace (CH 275) from Korea is one of my go to songs while Christ our peace (GIA) and *Peacemaker Jesus (Hope) are also worth considering. Murassala (WGRG / H 82) from South Sudan would link to the call to be ambassadors of Jesus.



Guide me, O thou great Jehovah (CH 167 / MP 201) is probably the one obvious song to link to the Old Testament as we think of the prayers of Israel to God to guide them to the end of their journey through the wilderness.



Sending


The Epistle gives us some wonderful themes for sending out. Firstly, the theme of the new creation we find in Christ can be picked up in songs mentioned above such as Love divine, all loves excelling (CH 519 / MP 449), One more step along the world I go (CH 530 / MP 1346) and Behold, behold I make all things new (WGRG), or Canticle of the turning (Wild Goose / PFAS 75B / MV 120) which is a loose paraphrase of the Magnificat. You could also use the call to be ambassadors for Christ with Murassala (WGRG / H 82), *Go to the world! Go into all the earth (CH 683), We have a gospel to proclaim (CH 363 / MP 728) or Mission’s Flame (CCLI).


If you want to finish with a focus on Mothering Sunday then you could consider Tell out my soul (CH 286 / MP 631) which is of course a setting of the Magnificat, the song of Mary, which shows us God working through a mother. *God of the women (link) sung to Slane would be a good sending song for recognising the various ministries that God calls women to. *Now thank we all our God (CH 182 / MP 486) is always a good general song to finish with but can link today with the the line "who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way". You can avoid unnecessary gendered language by changing v1 line 4 to “in whom this world” and v2 line 5 to “and keep us strong in grace”.


I don’t normally include a suggestion for a sung benediction but *May the Lord bless you (Satellite) is a wonderful song to consider for this which is becoming extremely popular.


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