Music for Lent 1

In haste, still, as Past Me is writing this before going away — please forgive the lack of lectionary — some music for Lent 1.

One way or another the theme for Sunday is going to be about Jesus being driven out into the wilderness to be tempted.

In my own, urban/semi-suburban existence, the idea of going out into nature and getting away from it all sometimes seems rather appealing; but that’s mostly because I can come back to a safe, warm house. I’m not sleeping outside; I’m not fending off wild beasts at night, and desperately thirsty during the day.

Real engagement with wilderness can leave us wrung out and exhausted, and longing for support and reassurance, and most of all, the comfort of God’s presence with us.

Stephanie Martin’s setting of Sicut cervus — lines from Psalm 42 — would be one way of expressing this longing for God.


[Listen to Sicut cervus by Stephanie Martin on Soundcloud]
[Buy the sheet music for Sicut cervus by Stephanie Martin]

Music for Ash Wednesday

I’m not ready for Lent. I’m also not really ready for the trip to Jerusalem I’ll be making tomorrow morning. But the thing about Lent, and wilderness in general, is that it doesn’t wait until we’re good and ready; it doesn’t work according to our earthly timelines and conveniences and purposes.

So, in some haste, as I schedule various posts to go up while I’m away, set my e-mail auto-reply and so on —

— Ally Barrett wrote a hymn text for Ash Wednesday, which I set in 2016.

1. Dust to dust, we mark our repentance,
entering a guilty plea,
Ash to ash, we face our sentence,
Sin writ large for all to see:
Bearing signs of all our falls from grace,
Yearning for your strong embrace.

2. Dust of earth once shaped and moulded,
human form from Godly hand,
Male and female both enfolded,
part of all that you had planned.
Now O Lord reshape our damaged form,
Hold us till our hearts grow warm.

3. Dust that fuels the lights of heaven,
Stars and planets passing by,
Atoms of creation’s splendour,
Earth to earth and sky to sky,
Now our dust, redeemed, may sing along
with that universal song.

You can download the sheet music from CPDL.