Jeremiah — foretelling a new covenant, one in which the law is written on people’s hearts, and in which people know the Lord by his forgiveness of sins
Psalm 51 — Miserere mei. I have sinned; cleanse me from my sin, create within me a clean heart and a right spirit
Psalm 119 — Teach me your ways, Lord; delighting in the statues of God
Hebrews — the high priesthood of Christ, and eternal salvation through Him
John — Some Greeks want to see Jesus, and Jesus is alluding to his death.
One possible piece for this Sunday would be “A New Heart” by Melissa Dunphy.
The text, from Ezekiel 36:26 (“A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”) is particularly suitable if you are using or wish to allude to Psalm 51. The setting is for SAB and piano, and easy to sing and play. I love the directness and sparse simplicity of this piece; there’s nothing extraneous or distracting. It’s available to purchase from MorningStar Music Publishers and a pdf perusal score and mp3 are available.
The Psalm is about the glory of God, as displayed both by the heavens and by God’s law.
The reading from 1 Corinthians is asking some questions about wisdom, and noting that to those called, Christ is both the power and wisdom of God, rather than the foolishness it might seem to others.
The Gospel reading is Jesus driving the money-changers out of the Temple — and his disciples recognising his actions as prophesied by Scripture. He then claims that he will raise the Temple (meaning his body, this time) in three days, and his disciples remember that, later.
If you’re up for a challenge, there’s Hilary Campbell’s SATB setting of “The spacious firmament on high”, Joseph Addison’s paraphrase of Psalm 19, titled “The Hand That Made Us Is Divine” and available from Jeremy Dibb music. I sang this myself in around 2009, I think — I was still studying at Trinity College of Music at the time, so it must have been around then. The piece has extensive divisi and plenty of challenging rhythms. And yes, that’s the same Hilary Campbell who is the director of the Blossom Street chamber choir, whose album crowdfunder I posted about previously; there are four days left so do support them if you’re going to!
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.
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.