Music in Lent?

I may have mentioned that for this “Music in Lent” series I’ve been trying to use the ext for the week, or something that connects to the previous Sunday’s worship as a curatorial theme. This past Sunday I did not attend my usual church. I assisted at an ELCA Lutheran church as the priest (a friend of mine) was called away due to the death of his mother. Two years ago, in Lent, my father died. I was happy to be of service.

This week I’m once again taken back to the reading from last year:

1 Now a certaine man was sicke, named Lazarus of Bethanie, the towne of Mary, and her sister Martha. 2 (It was that Mary which anoynted the Lord with oyntment, and wiped his feete with her haire, whose brother Lazarus was sicke.) 3 Therefore his sister sent vnto him, saying, Lord, behold, hee whom thou louest, is sicke. 4 When Iesus heard that, hee said, This sicknesse is not vnto death, but for the glory of God, that the Sonne of God might be glorified thereby. 5 Now Iesus loued Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. 6 When he had heard therefore that he was sicke, he abode two dayes still in the same place where he was. 7 Then after that, saith hee to his disciples, Let vs go into Iudea againe. 8 His disciples say vnto him, Master, the Iewes of late sought to stone thee, and goest thou thither againe? 9 Iesus answered, Are there not twelue houres in the day? If any man walke in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walke in the night, hee stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said hee, and after that, hee saith vnto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I goe, that I may awake him out of sleepe. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleepe, he shall doe well. 13 Howbeit Iesus spake of his death: but they thought that hee had spoken of taking of rest in sleepe. 14 Then saide Iesus vnto them plainly, Lazarus is dead: 15 And I am glad for your sakes, that I was not there (to the intent yee may beleeue:) Neuerthelesse, let vs goe vnto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, vnto his fellow disciples, Let vs also goe, that we may die with him. 17 Then when Iesus came, hee found that hee had lien in the graue foure dayes already. 18 (Now Bethanie was nigh vnto Hierusalem, about fifteene furlongs off:) 19 And many of the Iewes came to Martha, and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soone as shee heard that Iesus was comming, went and met him: but Mary sate still in the house. 21 Then saide Martha vnto Iesus, Lord, if thou hadst bene here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that euen now, whatsoeuer thou wilt aske of God, God will giue it thee. 23 Iesus saith vnto her, Thy brother shall rise againe. 24 Martha sayeth vnto him, I know that he shall rise againe in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Iesus said vnto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: hee that beleeueth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he liue. 26 And whosoeuer liueth, and beleeueth in mee, shall neuer die. Beleeuest thou this? 27 She saith vnto him, Yea Lord, I beleeue that thou art the Christ the Sonne of God, which should come into the world. 28 And when shee had so said, shee went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 Assoone as she heard that, she arose quickely, and came vnto him. 30 Now Iesus was not yet come into the towne, but was in that place where Martha met him. 31 The Iewes then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose vp hastily, and went out, followed her, saying, Shee goeth vnto the graue, to weepe there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Iesus was, and saw him, shee fell downe at his feete, saying vnto him, Lord, if thou hadst beene here, my brother had not dyed. 33 When Iesus therefore sawe her weeping, and the Iewes also weeping which came with her, hee groned in the Spirit, and was troubled, 34 And said, Where haue ye laid him? They say vnto him, Lord, come, & see.

35 Iesus wept.

36 Then said the Iewes, Behold, how he loued him. 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blinde, haue caused that euen this man should not haue died? 38 Iesus therefore againe groning in himselfe, commeth to the graue. It was a caue, and a stone lay vpon it. 39 Iesus said, Take yee away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, sayth vnto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath beene dead foure dayes. 40 Iesus saith vnto her, Said I not vnto thee, that if thou wouldst beleeue, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they tooke away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Iesus lift vp his eyes, and said, Father, I thanke thee, that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knewe that thou hearest me alwayes: but because of the people which stand by, I said it, that they may beleeue that thou hast sent me. 43 And when hee thus had spoken, he cryed with a loude voice, Lazarus, come foorth. 44 And he that was dead, came forth, bound hand & foot with graue-clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Iesus saith vnto them, Loose him, and let him goe. 45 Then many of the Iewes which came to Mary, and had seene the things which Iesus did, beleeued on him.

Here’s Jean Ritchie singing The Little Family.

Lazarus (Self-portrait levitating) by Paul Roorda

One of the songs that I listen to almost daily in Lent is Idumæa.

And am I born to die? To lay this body down?
And must my trembling spirit fly into a world unknown?

A land of deepest shade, unpierced by human thought!
The dreary regions of the dead where all things are forgot.

Soon as from earth I go, what will become of me?
Eternal happiness or woe must then my portion be.

Waked by the trumpet’s sound, I from my grave will rise,
And see the Judge with glory crowned and see the flaming skies.

How shall I leave my tomb? With triumph or regret?
A fearful or a joyful doom, a curse or blessing met?

Oh Thou that wouldst not have one wretched sinner die,
Who died Thyself my soul to save from endless misery.

Show me the way to shun Thy dreadful wrath severe,
That when Thy comest on Thy throne, I may with joy appear.

Thou art Thyself the way! Thyself in me reveal.
So shall I spend my life’s short day obedient to Thy will.

So shall I love my God because He first loved me
And praise Thee in Thy bright abode to all eternity.


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