Monday, February 8, 2016

Lent I C

Liturgical Notes 
First Sunday of Lent

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.
Luke 4:1

In today’s gospel, we hear Luke’s account of Jesus being tempted in the desert by the devil.   (A reading of the 3rd and 4th chapter of Luke’s gospel will show how today’s gospel event is connected the recently proclaimed Gospels of Jesus’s baptism and call to ministry.)

Today’s prelude is a contemporary song by Curtis Stephan and Sarah Hart titled Into The Desert  (Click on the title to see the lyrics.) The first 2 verses are meant to be of God saying “Come, beloved” in the same way God’s did during Jesus’ baptism.  The third verse centers around our call to walk with Christ in the Lenten desert as we prepare for the joy of Easter.

The sparseness of the desert also influences the opening rite of our Lenten liturgy.  Instead of an entrance hymn, the presider and ministers will process to instrumental music.   Many churches choose to sing the kyrie eleison to underscore the penitential nature of the season.   We will be using a setting from the Mass of Remembrance by Marty Haugen.  Finally, the Gloria is omitted during Lent.

The offertory song “Led By the Spirit” (#125) underscores and expounds upon the words of today’s gospel.   The text was written by Bob Hurd and the music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the composer of the well-known hymn “For All the Saints.”  The communion song “On Eagles Wings” (#432) contains the reference to psalm 91, which the devil uses in his temptation of Jesus.  Be sure to look at and/or listen to the words on page 75 as it is proclaimed by the psalmist today.  Pay special attention to the last words; “I will set him on high because he acknowledges my name" as they are critical to understanding Jesus’ faithfulness to God the Father.

During each of the first 4 Sundays of Lent we will conclude our liturgy by singing a different verse of “In These Days of Lenten Journey” (#130.)  The verses are a wonderful reminder of Pope Francis’ call to see the face of Christ in the suffering.  I hope that you will become more comfortable with its melody each week.

Wishing you a blessed Lent,


Into The Desert    Curtis Stephan and Sarah Hart

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