Sunday, March 20, 2016

Favorite Lenten hymns

After starting this blog nine years ago — with 262 posts so far — only a few mention hymns for the first five weeks of Lent. (I did previously comment on appropriate hymns for Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday).

So as I did for Advent, Christmas (in 2009, 20102014 and 2015) and Easter, it seemed like a good time to provide an overview of the hymns available for Lent (including Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Good Friday).

I cross-referenced hymns from these periods from The English Hymnal (COE 1906), Hymnal 1940 (ECUSA) and Hymnal 1982 (ECUSA). I also matched the hymns from these lists to two Missouri Synod (LCMS) hymnals: The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Service Book (2006).

Eleven hymn texts (twelve combinations) stood out. Because there’s such a small number, I found that I previously wrote about five of these texts.

Title Tune TEH H40 H82 TLH LSB Remarks
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended Herzleibster Jesu 70 71.1* 158 143 439 Holy Week
All glory, laud, and honor St. Theodulph 622 62 154 160 442 Palm Sunday
Forty days and forty nights Aus der Tiefe 73 55 150 Early Lent
Lord Jesus, think on me Southwell 77 417 641 320 610
Lord, who throughout these forty days St. Flavian 59 * Early Lent
O sacred head, sore wounded Passion Chorale 102 75 168 172 449* Holy Week
Ride on, ride on in majesty The King's Majesty 64.1 156 Palm Sunday
Ride on, ride on in majesty Winchester New 620 64.2 162 441 Palm Sunday
The glory of these forty days Erhalt uns, Herr 68.2 61 143 Early Lent
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were You There 80 172 456 Holy Week
When I survey the wondrous Cross Rockingham 107 337 474 175.2* 426* Holy Week
* Another tune available

Three of the hymns (all with “forty days” in the title) are both written and commonly used for Ash Wednesday or the first Sunday in Lent. Two (“All glory, laud, and honor” and “Ride on, ride on in majesty”) are clearly written for Palm Sunday. Four are about the passion of Christ, which could be celebrated on Lent 5 (“Passiontide” in the 28 BCP) or any time in Holy Week: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday or (when hymns are used) Good Friday. And in fact, these dates are when the these hymns are assigned by Hymnal 1940: Ash Wednesday, Lent 1, Lent 5, or Palm Sunday.

“…Ride on in majesty” has two tunes: Winchester New is preferred by the CoE hymnals (dating back to the 19th century Hymns Ancient & Modern), and (the considerably more difficult) King’s Majesty which was introduced in H40 and the only one kept by H82.

This is really a list of the top hymns: there are other hymns worth mentioning that weren’t quite as popular. I hope to publish a more complete list at some point in the future.

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