Pathways through Lent

My Strength and My Song

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Psalm 37:1–18 Habakkuk 3:1–18 Philippians 3:12–21 John 17:1–8

If you’re like me, you see music as a path to the divine. When you listen to music with a fully open heart and mind, a tunnel opens to transcendence.
Consider the music we hear every day. Movie scores heighten the drama of the stories and can even change the viewers’ perceptions and understanding. A simple pop song can reassure the brokenhearted that they are not alone and that others have felt that same feeling.
The power of music is especially strong in Lent. Songs for this season often draw from one common set of texts, but putting those texts to music and performing them invests them with a greater power. The setting in a minor key, the discordant sounds, the anguished words—all work together to evoke a certain sense of pain.
These emotions take you back to the composer and the author of the text, where you share in their pain over the centuries. In sharing this pain with others, you are taken back to when Jesus cried out on the cross. Through music, we feel this pain to the root of our being and acknowledge its significance to our lives.
During this Lent, I urge you to listen to the music that surrounds you in the church—and allow it to connect you to the heart of this season as we prepare for the joyful noise of Easter to come.
–Robin A. Pennington

(The Tallis Scholars sing William Byrd’s Kyrie from the Mass for four voices)

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