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Musical Wanderings This Lenten Season

By Christian McIvor

As we follow the steps of Peter and explore his wandering exploration of faith throughout this Lenten season, we be reminded that as we wander through our own individual faith journeys – through all of our ups and downs, missteps and mistakes – God is always with us.  You may have noticed by now that lyrics from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” serve as important thematic elements in this “Wandering Heart” series.  So, as we make our way through this season, we will wander musically together

Though we associate many of our beloved hymns with the tunes they’re often paired with, classic Protestant hymns are texts that can often be set to different tunes.  Hymn tunes are often composed to be used with texts that have specific poetic meters (rhythmic and syllabic structures).  The text of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was written by Baptist minister Robert Robinson in 1758 and follows an D meter (lines of 8, then 7, then 8, then 7 syllables doubled).  In the United States, the hymn is usually set to an American folk tune known as “Nettleton”, which first appeared in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, Part Second (1813).  Each week during Lent, a stanza from “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” will serve as our centering song, although it will be sung to a different tune that supports D texts.  This will offer us as a congregation an opportunity to focus on the weekly theme as we sing a familiar text while also hearing it in new and different ways.  Hopefully, our musical wanderings will inspire us to more deeply and meaningfully understand the wanderings of our faith lives.

I have also written an original song for our Lenten theme, “Wandering Hearts,” which will be sung in worship, also in different ways.  I encourage you to listen to the recording so we can sing it boldly together!