First Things In Lent
The ashes no longer are on our foreheads and we have begun the season of Lent. Ah, those 40 days that we walk with Jesus in the wilderness each year, mirroring the 40 days Moses spent on the mountain awaiting the stone tablets with words from God’s finger. The beauty of the liturgical year is that it beckons us whether or not we are ready, disciplines us in our walk of faith regardless of our state of mind or the circumstance of our life. The rhythms of the liturgical year are as regular as our breathing and heartbeat, and as necessary to our spiritual well being as food, exercise and sleep are to our physical health. We await words from God in these 40 days just as Moses and Jesus did.
So then, how shall we walk these 40 days? A first place is scripture itself, the daily lections, readings that are common to all Christian traditions. The beauty of technology is their availability online, such as the Presbyterian, www.pcusa.org (“Follow the Lectionary”) or Catholic, http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings.
A second way to “read” the lections is to sing them. Psalms were meant to be sung, and simple Psalm tones can be used with pointed texts for either personal or group singing. The hymnal Evangelical Lutheran Worship includes straightforward instructions for Psalm singing, Psalm tones, and a complete pointed Psalter (Augsburg Fortress, 2006, p. 335-338, followed by Psalms 1-150). A Psalm for the day also can be searched in the index of most denominational hymnals to find a metric setting for singing the Psalm. Likewise, scriptures can be searched in the index of many hymnals for hymns that are poetic settings of those scriptures. The Church Music Institute eLibrary database can be searched by scripture for a rich source of music titles associated with specific texts.
We have put away the “alleluias” during Lent to sing Kyrie with fervor. We need not look far to find reasons to sing “Kyrie.” The simple lament, “Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord, have mercy” is sung across all Christian denominations and across the world. It is an opportunity to sing together with our sisters and brothers in other places, to sing a simple lament in a setting unfamiliar to us that reach across another culture. The simple Gregorian chant is one way to sing Kyrie, eleison, Christe, eleison, Kyrie, eleison, that reaches across cultures and back across the centuries. Another way is to explore the song of other cultures. Examples from CMI resources can be found in the Kyries for Lent 2014 article.
Blessings to you as you journey through Lent. Let us know if CMI can assist you and your congregation in your walk…… Charlotte Kroeker