Lent is such a beautiful time for reflection. We find ourselves preparing for the coming of the Lord with ashes, incense, and candles; all the senses get involved in these Catholic liturgies!
But, as a musician, how to we best foster an environment of prayer? How do we ensure that we are allowing our congregations to immerse more fully into the liturgy? Through song selection and musicianship.
Two songs that I love for this upcoming Lenten season are Matt Maher’s version of Run to the Father, paired with a classic Taize song, Jesus, Remember Me.
Run to the Father is a fantastic rendering of the Prodigal Son parable. The song invites us to drop all those things we carry as unnecessary, heavy burdens. Instead, we are called to lay them at the feet of the Father who loves us, who draws us in with open arms. He does not abandon or desert us, no matter how we have behaved or what we have done. He asks us to set those decisions aside, and run to him for comfort and forgiveness. We in turn leave our burdens and past behaviors in search of that which the Father desires for our lives.
Who else regretted his sins and asked for repentance? The man crucified along with Jesus. With his imminent death, he cried to our Lord, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!” And our Lord reassured him that there is indeed a place for a sinner like him at the table. The repetition of Taize’s nature is intended to allow the listener to enter deeper into the richness of these words in scripture. Though there aren’t many lyrics, this might be just the right pairing with a brand new song like Run to the Father.
Musicianship will come into play when considering the pairing of these particular songs. I would personally utilize Run to the Father in the key of G, then transition to the key of D for Jesus, Remember Me. These would allow the songs to be in the most singable range, congregationally, but again, musicianship and understanding of self (range, ability of your group, etc.) will be essential.
Whatever songs you choose to utilize this Lent, I’m certain that these two will be a fantastic addition to your repertoire. Know that I’m praying for you and your congregation, friend! Have a blessed Lent and a joyous Easter season!
About Shannon Worle
Shannon Worle is a wife, mother of four, and Catholic musician. She strives to remind people that they are SEEN, KNOWN, and LOVED. In her spare time, she volunteers at her home parish of St. Timothy in Mesa, AZ and writes music with her band, EverNew. You can find more from her at shannonworle.com and evernewmusic.com.