The Music of Lent & Holy Week

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Written by Ben Allaway

During this season of Lent the choral anthems and the hymns and songs we are singing pay close attention to both the themes of Lent and to the sermon-series on “Five Habits of Lent.”  We hope you are appreciating these Lenten services, with music that invites us to focus inwardly and still allows us to celebrate God’s goodness and mercy in outward praise.

Holy Week will feature a new song for the Procession of Palms and Bells, waving our palms in praise, and building a cross of palms as we leave the church.  Maundy Thursday will find us in our “Upper Room” on the fifth floor for an intimate candlelight service with footwashing and communion, and special instrumental music and hymns.

The Good Friday service this year will feature the beautiful and powerful REQUIEM by Gabriel Fauré, sung by our Chancel Choir and accompanied by members of the Drake Symphony Orchestra.  Caitlin Carr and Rich Richards will be the vocal soloists.  The Requiem is a group of prayers for the dead and hymns of praise to God and Christ.  Because Jesus suffered death and descended to the dead on Good Friday, the great settings of the Requiem- especially those by Mozart, Durufle, and Fauré– are often sung on Good Friday.

The Requiem also supports the Good Friday sacraments of confession and anointing with oil for healing.  The Kyrie invites us to make our personal confession that Christ is our Savior, at the same time confessing that which we know we have done and “left undone”, that needs reconciliation and healing.  Throughout the Requiem the theme of light surrounding the soul penetrates the darkness in our lives, and we have the confidence in Christ of eternal life with him.  Come share in this moving and transformative service on the darkest day of the church year.

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