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Lent 5C

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


As we come to the last Sunday in Lent you may wish to mark it with Forty days and forty nights (CH 337 / MP 160), or its contemporary language version from Jubilate, in order to tie Lent together if this was how you started the season. You could also use gathering songs which speak of what we offer to God in worship which can reflect the commitments we will see in the readings. Humbly in your sight (CH 496) can sometimes get overlooked because of being so short but would keep a gentle tone for Lent while Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (CH 201 / MP 529), Come now is the time to worship (CH 196 / MP 1040) and Let his praise be on our lips (Satellite) are some other options.

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.


There are a good range of metrical settings of today’s psalm in contemporary language. When God first brought us back (PFAS 126A / Hymnary) and When God restored our common life (PFAS 126E) would be my first two choices, with the American tunes complementing the lyrics well, although for the latter Resignation would probably be the tune best known in Scotland. When Zion’s fortunes God restored (CH 86) and When the Lord restored his people (Jubilate) are both very usable options as well. Tears and joy (Scheer) offers a totally different musical take, highlighting the contrasting emotions from the psalm in its infectious chorus, while O restore us (Gordon) is another possibility for bands.


There are a number of songs which reflect on the different perspectives of the characters in the Gospel. Said Judas to Mary (Hope / Hymnary) has different verses for Judas, Mary and Jesus while I will give what I have (WGRG) focuses on Mary’s perspective. The latter is short enough that a congregation could learn it but the style makes it potentially more suited to a solo voice. Mary also gets featured in A prophet-woman broke a jar (Hope / Hymnary) which explores the wisdom of women in the Gospels who go against social expectations, while both Martha and Mary are mentioned in There is a line of women (WGRG), sung to the Seven joys of Mary, which looks at the important roles played by women in the Bible, and Bless the arms that comfort (GIA) which focuses on the ministry of caregivers. You could also use songs of dedication to respond to this reading such as Take my life, Lord, let it be (CH 502 / MP 624), Take this moment (CH 501) and I will offer up my life (CH 503 / MP 990 / CCLI).

The themes of the Epistle such as confidence in Christ, what we are called to give up for him, and the living a Christian life in this world leading to eternal life, can be found in many popular songs. The classic hymn My hope is built on nothing less (MP 473 / Hymnary) captures all of these as do two great reworkings of it - the Kenyan song Kwake yesu nasimama (GSW 34 / GIA) and the popular worship song Cornerstone (MP 1334 / CCLI). They can also be found in hymns such as And can it be that I should gain (CH 396 / MP 33), How deep the Father’s love for us (CH 549 / MP 988 / Townend) and What grace is mine (CCLI / Getty), sung to the Londonderry Air, and worship songs such as Yet not I but through Christ in me (CCLI) and You alone can rescue (CCLI).

God is with you (GIA) is a great responsorial song based on this whole chapter of the Old Testament. It has a chorus that a congregation will pick up easily while the solo verses can be chosen for the relevant verses, in this case verses 6 and 7. There are also a good range of songs on the theme of doing a new thing such as Behold, behold I make all things new (WGRG) which is a great short song to teach in two parts, 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), contemporary hymns such as Free us, God, from past mistakes (GIA) and Word of God (OCP), or two worship songs with the same name, All things new (CCLI) from Elevation Worship or All things new (CCLI) from Hillsong Worship.


As we look ahead to Holy Week there is a running theme in the readings of committing ourselves to following Christ and giving everything we have and you can pick this up with songs such as Be thou my vision (CH 465 / MP 51), All I once held dear (CH 506 / MP 799), You alone can rescue (CCLI) and Yes and amen (CCLI). Some of the songs suggested above for the Epistle would also make for good sending songs, such as And can it be that I should gain (CH 396 / MP 33), My hope is built on nothing less (MP 473 / Hymnary), Kwake yesu nasimama (GSW 34 / GIA) and Cornerstone (MP 1334 / CCLI)

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