Liturgical Folk, vol. 4: LENT (Out Now!)

Liturgical Folk’s new album, Lent, is out today, and it’s beautiful. Quiet, contemplative, comforting, these […]

Mockingbird / 2.1.19

Liturgical Folk’s new album, Lent, is out today, and it’s beautiful. Quiet, contemplative, comforting, these songs are devotional works of art. The album offers ten songs and hymns for the upcoming season, from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. Based on collects from the Book of Common Prayer, these songs are extended prayers, with all the depth of centuries of use.

From the pages of the BCP to your headphones, enormous talent helped bring about these meditations in song. Poet/priest Nelson Koscheski crafted the lines, while several composers, including Ryan Flanigan, set them to music. And among the singers features on the album are Liz Vice, Josh Garrels, and Lauren Goans (of Lowland Hum).

These hymns are a wonderful way to observe the season with soberness, beauty, and grace, and just a few selections from the album will attest. As suits the season, these songs don’t sugar coat our human condition. It’s low anthropology all the way—but with the salutary quality of knowing Who we’re acknowledging ourselves to. In the hymn for the fifth Sunday in Lent, Lauren Goans sings,

Our minds are fickle and our wills are flighty.
They flit about like dry petals in the wind.
Feelings chase their tails, they turn and tumble.
Our inmost selves are all undisciplined.

Though we cannot control the will’s affections.
Our hearts are all self-centered. They cannot hold.
We don’t even know what we desire.
Without a cause or goal our lives unfold.

And as the season concludes, on Easter Eve, we hear the words of greatest comfort. Felix culpa—God reaches us through our faults and our opposition to him, undoing every wrong deed in love and power:

New growth now comes to those who stomped the seed,
And those who quashed the lamp now walk in light.
Now those who silenced God can hear him speak:
‘Dead live, deaf hear, and blind receive their sight.’

This full album leads us through a narrative, about Christ and our lives in him: from the lows of penitence and lament, to the highs of God’s boundless grace. If you’re looking for a resource for prayer in the upcoming season, this album may be it. Go listen to the whole thing (and tell your friends)!