Q: With Lent fast approaching, what are some ways to differentiate the season liturgically?
A: One way is to change up the entrance rite. Instead of a procession down the center aisle think about having the choir and Lay Eucharistic Ministers seated in their places during the prelude. Have a shortened procession by the clergy preceded only by a crucifer coming from a side door if available. If your choir sings plainsong well, have them chant the psalm appointed for the day in the Daily Office lectionary during the entrance. Another option is for the congregation to sing a meditative song or chant such as:
Jesus, we are gathered (Jesu, tawa pano) (in Gather, Glory to God, ELW)
Bless the Lord (Taizé) (in WLP)
God is forgiveness (in Gather)
Nada te turbe (Nothing can trouble) (in VF)
The liturgy can continue with the Penitential Office. Sing a Kyrie (“Lord, have mercy”) or a Trisagion (“Holy God”). Many options are available in The Hymnal 1982 or Enriching Our Music.
Singing a hymn at the end of communion and before the Postcommunion Prayer, followed by a blessing and dismissal and then a silent procession by the clergy back out the side door would give the service a lovely symmetry.
Don’t forget to omit those Alleluias!
WLP—Wonder, Love, and Praise
ELW—Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Glory to God—Presbyterian Church Hymnal
Gather—Roman Catholic Hymnal