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Posted by on Jan 27, 2018 | 0 comments

“Wondrous” Lenten Reading

Through the seasons of the church year, we are quick to change colors, paraments, candles, seating arrangements and hymns, but maybe not so quick to change how we read Scripture.  In most churches I know, there is “the” Scripture moment in worship when the liturgist/worship assistant/reader walks to the lectern, introduces the reading(s), reads, and then sits down.  The readings change seasonally, of course, but HOW we read them remains consistent.

Consistency in the HOW of reading is not a bad thing, but diversity in the HOW of reading isn’t bad either.  What if, from time to time, you added music to the reading of Scripture in a way that helped people to focus, helped to shape the tone of the message, and helped the congregation to hear the Word in new ways, or at all.  Below is a recorded example of what this could sound like.

  • Text: Philippians 2:5-9 Good Lenten themes to explore with this “hymn,” which also lends itself nicely to music.  “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus: Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God highly honored him and gave him a name above all names.” (Common English Bible)
  • Instrumentation & Music  The clip below uses alto recorder, cello, and chime but you could use any instrument.  Pay special attention to volume though, so that the music does not interfere with the hearing of the reading itself.  The hymn being played is “What Wondrous Love is This?” The tune goes along nicely with the tone of the passage and for those who know the words to the hymn, they set up a nice “conversation” between the hymn text and the Scripture passage.
  • Preparation: the clip below was recorded in a home studio.  If you were to read and play live, you would want to plan on at least two brief rehearsals to make sure the timing, volume, staging, etc. are where you want them to be.  This is more work, but then again, it may be what the congregation remembers most from that service.
  • Have fun and create!


© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2018

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving Charlotte Congregational Church in northwestern Vermont. He skis, runs, bakes bread, rides a red Vespa, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

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