Lenten Hymns for 2012/Year B by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

Ash Wednesday: February 22, 2012


O God of Love, the Fast You Choose

O God of love, the fast you choose Is not some great display.

It’s everything we gladly do To serve you day by day.

It’s not a moment set apart When we will mourn our sin;

For you require a change of heart— A change from what has been.

Lord, we confess we often sing That you are our delight,

Then we go shouting words that sting; We bicker and we fight.

Oppressing others for our gain, We put our interests first.

We overlook our neighbors’ pain While praying here in church.

You teach us what it means to be A church that worships you:

In setting captive people free, We praise you as you choose.

In sharing bread with hungry folk, Bringing the homeless in,

And breaking every bitter yoke We worship you again.

God, bless us as we journey on To live in loving ways.

Then darkness will turn into dawn And gloom will turn to praise.

When justice is our offering, We also will be blest,

And we will know the fast we bring Will be our very best.

Tune:  KINGSFOLD CMD (“Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples”)

Biblical Reference: Isaiah 58:1-12

Ash Wednesday Comes and, Lord, We Hear

Ash Wednesday comes, and Lord, we hear
The word for which our spirits yearn;
Amid this world’s distress and fear,
We hear your loving call: “Return!”

“Return to me with all your heart—
With fasting, weeping, mourning, too.”
O God, we seek a brand new start,
A new beginning here with you.

You call to us— the old, the young;
You summon nations strong and weak.
When we have drifted toward the wrong,
You call us back, your way to seek.

O God most merciful and kind,
Your love is not a prize we earn;
Yet in our life with you we find
The joy that comes when we return.

Tune:  TALLIS’ CANON (“All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night”)

Biblical Reference: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17  (also Lent 2011)

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First Sunday in Lent: February 26, 2012


Shades of Purple, Shades of Blue


Shades of purple, shades of blue, Green and yellow, orange, red—

Noah and his family, too, Saw the rainbow overhead.

God, Creator, high above You displayed your sign of love.

Soon new life was springing forth, Filling land and sea and air.

God, you chose to bless the earth With the promise of your care–

And your promised love extends Far beyond our human friends.

In the rainbow, you were clear: Every living thing has worth.

You love every creature here On this planet we call Earth.

God, forgive when we destroy Gifts from you that bring you joy.


May your church begin to see In that rainbow high above:

We are daily called to be Stewards of this world you love.

Since the earth is dear to you, May we treat it kindly too.

Tune:  DIX (“For the Beauty of the Earth”)

Biblical Reference: Genesis 9:8-17

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Second Sunday in Lent: March 4, 2012


Old Abram Was Blest


Old Abram was blest and Sarai was, too,

When God called their names and said, “I choose you!”

I’ll give you descendants like stars up above—

Too many to count, and a sign of my love.”

That old couple laughed at what God might do.

Was what they had heard impossibly true?

For they had no children to carry their name—

Yet God promised nations would rise out of them.


God promised to them a life that was new:

A new set of names, a new future, too.

They faithfully trusted—that husband and wife;

Soon Sarah and Abraham found a new life.


O God, in your love, a whole nation grew;

You called them to be a blessing for you.

You sent them, you send us, to be this world’s light.

Your promise still shines like the stars in the night

Tune:  LYONS (“O Worship the King, All Glorious Above!”)

Biblical Reference: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

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Third Sunday in Lent: March 11, 2012

“I Have Brought You Out of Egypt”


“I have brought you out of Egypt,” Moses heard the Lord God say.

“I have saved you! I have freed you! People, listen and obey.

Have no other gods before me; don’t make idols for yourselves.

I will judge those who reject me; worship me and no one else.”


“Do not use the Lord’s name wrongly, use God’s name for what is good.

Keep the Sabbath; keep it holy; rest and worship as you should.

Honor father, honor mother; do not murder! Honor life!

Do not wander to another from your husband or your wife.”

God continued these commandments: “Do not steal another’s things;

And you shall not bear false witness– see the anguish that it brings.

Do not seek with bitter longing what you see across the street.

Keep these laws and find within them where my love and justice meet.”


God of grace, we see your promise in the covenant you give.

For your law is wise and wondrous as it shows us how to live.

Loving God and loving neighbor, may we follow where you call.

Saved by grace, may we together seek to live your gracious law.

Tune:  NETTLETON D “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”

Biblical Reference: Exodus 20:1-17

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Fourth Sunday in LentMarch 18, 2012

God’s People Were Impatient


God’s people were impatient and spoke against the Lord:

“This wilderness is dried out and we detest the food!

We can’t find any water and so we ask you why,

O God—if you still love us— you’ve brought us here to die.”


As sinning leads to judgment, the people soon knew fear.

For snakes were in the desert and danger lingered near.

So Moses made a bronze snake and placed it on a pole;

Whoever looked upon it was once again made whole.


O God, this Lenten season reminds us of our sin;

We know our lack of trusting, the times our faith wears thin.

We also know your promise to lead us on our way,

To faithfully be near us, to guide us day by day.


Though sinning leads to judgment, repentance is God’s plan;

So on the cross was lifted the suffering Son of Man.

God, may we look upon him and in his suffering see

The one who brings redemption for all humanity.

Tune:  ANGEL’S STORY D (“O Jesus, I Have Promised”)

Biblical Reference: Numbers 21:4-9

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Fifth Sunday in LentMarch 25, 2012


“The Days Are Coming.” Said the Lord


“The days are coming,” said the Lord,

“When I will bring in something new.

My people now reject my word

So look and see what I will do.”


“I’ll write my words upon the heart,

And I will put my law in them.

Though they have wavered from the start,

My people will return again.”


O God, this law that is within

Becomes the means by which we’re free.

No longer bound by human sin,

In Christ, we’re who we’re called to be.


In every sinful, hurting place,

Our hearts know what it means to yearn.

We hear your promised love and grace;

Now at your cross may we return.

Tune: WOODWORTH LM (“Just As I Am, Without One Plea)

Biblical Reference: Jeremiah 31:31-34

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Sixth Sunday in Lent/Liturgy of the Palms April 1, 2012

Lord, What a Parade!

Lord, what a parade! The crowd quickly grew;

What noise they all made in welcoming you.

“Hosanna!” they shouted. “It’s David’s own son!

Hosanna! Come save us! God’s reign has begun!”

They welcomed you in, a conquering king,

Yet what kind of reign would you really bring?

It wasn’t a war horse you rode on that day;

A creature of peace carried you on your way.

Did those in that crowd expect something more

Than one who reached out in love to the poor?

Did they think a savior with armies was best,

Or did they remember: the peaceful are blessed?

Lord Jesus, it’s true– we give you glad praise,

Yet living for you will challenge our ways.

So may we be open and welcome your reign.

Hosanna! Come save us! Renew us again!

Hosanna! Come save us! Renew us again!

Tune: LYONS (“O Worship the King, All Glorious Above”)

Biblical Reference: Mark 11:1-11 (also Lent 2011)

Jesus Went Out to a Garden

Jesus went out to a garden to a quiet place to pray.

In the night, a crowd came round him, led by Judas on their way.

They seized Jesus to arrest him; someone near then drew a sword.

Soon a slave was injured, suffering there beside our suffering Lord.


Jesus spoke to stop the violence: “Put your sword back in its place.”

Then he touched the slave and healed him in a moment filled with grace.

For as violence leads to violence causing more distress and pain—

So compassion in abundance Is a witness to God’s reign.


God of love, we pause and wonder: Did that slave give quiet praise?

Yet the story marches onward with the pain that it portrays.

For the One who brought such healing soon was broken, on a cross,

To our sinful world revealing violence has an awful cost.


God, the gospels bear a witness: your Son’s death was not the end.

By your grace, you raised up Jesus; sin and violence did not win.

May we work to end all suffering; lead us in Christ’s peaceful way.

May his peace become an offering that we share throughout each day.

Tune: BEACH SPRING D (“God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending”)

Biblical References: Mrk 14:43-50; Matt 26:47-56; Lk 22:47-53; Jhn 18:1-11

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Resurrection of the Lord/Easter Day: April 8, 2012

You, O Christ, Are Resurrection

You, O Christ, are resurrection

In a world that’s filled with pain.

You reach out when we are hurting

And you lift us up again.

Battered women, hungry children,

Lonely people, those in need

Find in you a hope that’s living

As they’re welcomed, loved and freed.

You, O Christ, are resurrection

When we’re caught up in our sin,

When we grieve the road we’re traveling,

When we see what might have been.

You give healing and forgiveness

In the place of sin and strife.

Christ, we’re drawn to what you give us—

Resurrection and new life.

You, O Christ, are resurrection

When a loved one’s memories fade,

For you never will forget us—

We’re the ones you came to save.

Lord, we trust that you will guide us

When each day brings grief and stress;

Living Christ, you walk beside us

Through this shadowed wilderness.

You, O Christ, are resurrection

When an illness takes its toll,

For the promise that you give us

Is that one day we’ll be whole.

So we need not fear the future

When the way seems hard to bear;

You will gently guide and lead us

To the place that you prepare.

Tune: BEACH SPRING D (“God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending”)

Biblical References: 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Jhn 20:1-18; Mrk 16:1-8 (also Easter 2011)

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Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is a popular writer of new hymns to traditional hymn tunes and a Presbyterian pastor (Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware). Her hymns can be found in collections by Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Christian Reformed, United Methodist and the United Church of Canada. Her hymns have been featured three times on national PBS-TV in the USA and on the BBC in the UK. Baylor University’s Christian Reflection journal, Bread for the World, The Chorister journal, Church World Service, Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society in the United States, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Sojourners, Souper Bowl of Caring and other organizations have promoted her hymns. She is the author of Songs of Grace New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/Upper Room Books, 2009) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship (Geneva Press, 2000) and the co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. A complete list of Carolyn’s more than 200 hymns can be found at carolynshymns.com. The Presbyterian Outlook has been publishing her hymns since 1998; including Advent hymns to Christmas carol tunes for three lectionary years and Lent 2011.

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