“Lent is all about a journey. For 40 days we are on a pilgrimage of faith that leads us to Holy Week and the Way of the Cross. Hymns can help teach the emotions and stories of this holy season.”
Making Music in Lent
This is a longlist (as opposed to a shortlist!) of hymns and songs for Lent that work well in All-Age Worship. These come from several of the hymnals and other music collections I used when selecting material for My Heart Sings Out. If worship music with young people is your speciality, you will find all these books useful.
The Hymnal 1982 (H82)
Normally I recommend more contemporary sources, so I have made a selection of simpler hymns, and those on which children can join in.
My Heart Sings Out (MHSO)
My hymnal designed for all-age worship, with the aim of the full inclusion of children in weekly worship.
Wonder, Love and Praise (WLP)
Both of the above have a wide selection of service music and seasonal music suitable for All Age Worship.
Singing our Faith (SOF)
An excellent source of children’s worship music from the Roman Catholic church.
Wild Goose Songs: Volume 2 (WG2)
From the Iona community, contains many wonderful songs for Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Many are in strophic form, and therefore not ideal for younger children to sing, but those that tell stories are wonderful as anthems, or woven in with a first person story, as I have done in the Pentecost 2006 ‘s Children at Worship with “Enemy of Apathy.” I have included a few below.
Remember that Lent is all about a journey. For 40 days we are on a pilgrimage of faith that leads us to Holy Week and the Way of the Cross. The following hymns can help teach the emotions and stories of this holy season:
Lent: Journey Songs
MHSO 81 Your word is a light
MHSO 83 If you love me
MHSO 87 and WLP 805 I want Jesus to walk with me
WG2 16 Come take my hand
WG2 209 Will you come and follow me? (Iona tune) OR
WLP 757 Will you come and follow me? (John Hooker tune)
SOF 206 Guide my feet Lord
MHSO 84 Forty days and forty nights
MHSO 82 Come now oh prince of peace
MHSO 86 In the bulb there is a flower (Also Easter and Easter season)
WLP827 O lord hear my prayer
WG2 86 Jesus Christ is waiting (Sung to the tune Noel Nouvelet, this first-person song expresses our frustration that no one is listening to the message of Christ, so we will offer ourselves, with Jesus’ help.)
WG2 36 Let your restless hearts be still (In this song the folk melody The Lark in the Clear Air is accompanied by four part harmony to the words Kyrie. A wonderful song for children’s and adult choirs to sing together.)
Catechism Songs (Journey songs listed above, and the following)
H82 145 Now quit your cares (This is a wordy hymn with a lively French dance tune, well worth the effort of preparation. It emphasises the message that “Lent calls to prayer, to trust and dedication.”)
MHSO 89 What does I mean to follow Jesus?
WLP 731 Three holy days enfold us now (For older children or children’s choir, this song sums up the meaning of the triduum. It could be sung at the opening of the Maundy Thursday service.)
MHSO 12 Missa Appalachia
MHSO 13 Paraguan Kyrie
MHSO 14 Iona (more complex – wonderful harmonies)
MHSO 15 Russian Orthodox
WLP837 Based on Bach chorale, English & Greek
WLP 840 Betty Pulkingham, based on South African song, Thuma Mina
Fiona Vidal-White is a musician, Christian educator and Liturgist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts, a Master’s Degree in Sacred Music (BU), and most recently, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (Lesley University). Her passion for transformative change, in Sunday worship and in the whole wide church, is a gift from her father.
This list originally appeared in her article on the website of Children at Worship: Congregations in Bloom. Although the site is no longer active, the extensive contents are now available on a CD. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.