The Covenants of Lent – part 4

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

While so called “social distancing” may be in place for everyone’s safety, we live in an amazing time where we do not have to be socially isolated as a result.

We’ve been working our way through the Old Testament readings in Lent while taking a look at songs we might sing at St. Peter’s to help tell the story and deepen our faith. Here is part 4 of the Covenants of Lent series, with some additional content.

Reading Themes

The Old Testament reading assigned for March 22nd is the story of Samuel anointing the new king of Israel. Of course there’s more to it than that. Samuel is afraid to go to a place where people may not welcome him. When he gets there, the people ask him if he comes peaceably. Samuel affirms he comes in peace, asks the people to sanctify themselves, and invites them to come with him. I don’t know about you, but this reminds me of some of the trepidation caused by COVID-19.

In a surprising twist, instead of anointing the oldest of Jesse’s sons, Samuel anoints David, the youngest of the sons of Jesse and the one who was chosen to guard the sheep. The Lord says to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature…for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Throughout salvation history, God has chosen the least likely to bring about salvation, culminating in the choice to conquer death through the death of his Son. Despite how we may look, feel, or view ourselves, God promises to choose us to be part of salvation history too. How can we sing about this?

Music and Worship

Be Thou My Vision pulls out these themes wonderfully well for us this week. While we might value riches, strength, and power, God’s vision is much wider than that. The third verse says it well:

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
thou and thou only, the first in my heart,
great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.

Be Thou My Vision, st. 3, ELW 793

God’s vision is one of inclusivity and salvation freely offered to all. In a time when we are tempted to hold on to all we have, God calls us to share freely with all who are in need, even it means a small sacrifice on our part.

These days we have all considered sacrificing our desires for the greater good of the community. We forego gatherings of family and maybe friends to keep the most susceptible among us as healthy as possible. What are other ways we might be able to align our vision with God’s vision? How can we reach out in our community to fulfill a need, to provide comfort, to alleviate suffering? Worship asks us these questions and more in times of plenty and in times of need.

May we all allow our vision to become one with God’s vision.

Slane (Be Thou My Vision), arr. Anne Krentz Organ, Augsburg Fortress
Permission to podcast/stream this music obtained from OneLicense with license #A-724568
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Dr. Adam Lefever Hughes

Director of Music

Adam served as Director of Music at St. Peter’s from 2015 to 2022.

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