I like Lent. It's one of my favorite seasons of the church year. It's dark and heavy and rich. I like the purple paraments and the hymns with subdued tones. Just like we need sunshine to brighten our days, we occasionally need a rainy day to make us slow down and reflect on things a bit. Lent is the rainy day season of the church year. I also love music. I spent almost all of my school years in choir so music is woven through the fabric of my life. I was flipping through our church's hymnal this morning and compliled a list of my favorite Lenten hymns.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: This one is pretty standard. We were always singing a version of this in choir. It has a good alto line, which I still like to sing to this day.
My Song is Love Unknown: The first time I remember singing this song was in college. The school I attended had a beautiful chapel filled with stain glass windows. I loved going to chapel, it was always a calming and peaceful time during a usually hectic day, in addition to being a place for meeting up with lots of friends. I loved singing this song then, and have loved it ever since. You'll hear part of this hymn's text in A Message, from Coldplay's X & Y, a little fact I discovered a few years later. This makes them even cooler in my book.
Lamb of God, Pure and Holy: I didn't hear this one until my husband was a pastor of two small churches in Wyoming. The first year we were there we sang this every Wednesday during Lent. Then on Good Friday he led the Service of Reproaches. He chanted this haunting melody of God accusing His people of their rebellion, which is followed by a plea for mercy. The congregation then joins in by singing, "Lamb of God, pure and holy, who on the cross didst suffer. It is stirring and beautiful, and really puts you in mind of the suffering that Jesus went through on our behalf.
O Dearest Jesus, What Law hast Thou Broken
In the Cross of Christ I Glory
Come to Calvary's Holy Mountain
A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth
Go to Dark Gethsemane
Lent is just beginning and I'm looking forward to hunkering down for the next 40 days, just like I do on rainy days. Plus, I know that with Easter, the sun is right around the corner.