Finding music in the spirit of Lent seems far more difficult that Advent because it is not as widely celebrated. Even though Easter, not Christmas, is the highest celebration of Christianity, preparations for Easter don’t have the same spirit of the season. This could be because Easter does not fall on the same day year after year. It could also be because gifts and a baby make us feel better than the cross.
Some might also argue that it is time for silence rather than listening to music. I agree that Lent is a time of purgation and simplification as we seek to strip ourselves of earthly attachments. Though that does not mean that we have to spend the entire time without music, unless you happened to choose that very difficult Lenten sacrifice.
As I have said before, music speaks to my heart in a very profound way that feeds my spirituality. I have made sure to take time for silence and contemplation, but I often have many times that I listen to music as I work, drive, or do other activities. Like I did in the last season of Advent, I put together a playlist of some of my favorite contemporary Christian music that fits well into this liturgical season.
What is Different About Music For Lent?
Music for Lent has a lot in common with the themes of Advent. We live in state of expectancy of the great celebration ahead. In the mass, this is marked with the absence of the Gloria, Alleluia, and toned down instruments.
We live in the hope of the Resurrection while still clinging tightly and embracing the cross upon which our Savior died. There is a more somber tone to many of the songs as we focus on our need for conversion and our desire to overcome our death. Lent is a time of thirst and hunger for our salvation while we recognize our need to reconcile and strengthen our relationship with Jesus.
I recommend reading a post by Simcha Fisher about traditional music for Lent. My list focuses mainly on contemporary music, many of which have been inspired by the same scriptures and themes of the traditional songs. Join me in going deep these last weeks of Lent as we prepare our hearts for the celebration of Easter.
Beautiful Exchange – Hillsong Chapel
This song describes the focus of Lent. We praise our God for the life He offers us through His death on the cross.
His Glory Appears – Hillsong United (Brooke Fraiser version)
A beautiful song that focuses on the love Jesus showed us by taking our sins the cross.
Lord Please Save Me – The Brilliance
A painful honest call for help to our Lord in our brokenness and humble recognition of our betrayal to Him through our sin.
Lamb of God – Tenth Avenue North
A somber praise of the Lamb that was sacrificed for our sins.
Does Your Heart Break – The Brilliance
An brutally honest question to God in the depths of our pain, and the reminder that He too knows suffering.
Ezekiel – Gungor
This song is a vivid reminder of Ezekiel 16 where we hear our God remind us of the times we turned away from the love He gives us.
Words Remain – Josh Garrels
This song is a beautiful plea for Jesus to remember me as we await for our death or His return.