This is my 25th entry in the Lenten Hymn-of-the-Day Project, and a delightful one it is! It shows that REAL Lenten hymns CAN be very joyful! Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday. The word "Laetare" is the first word of the Introit of the Mass, "Laetare Jerusalem" (Rejoice, O Jerusalem). It's the Sunday where the "heaviness" of Lent is lightened - by the readings, the music, and by the color of the Eucharistic vestmenets, which changes from the somber purple of the season, to a "lighter" rose pink.
The words are by the great scholar, author, liturgist, and musician, Percy Dearmer (1867-1936) and the music is a French carol melody, "Quittez, Pasteures", harmonized by Martin Shaw (1875-1958), and freely adapted by me.
Now quit your care and anxious fear and worry:
For schemes are vain and fretting brings no gain.
Lent calls to prayer, to trust and dedication;
God brings new beauty nigh;
Reply, reply, reply with love to love most high.
To bow the head in sackcloth and in ashes,
Or rend the soul, such grief is not Lent's goal;
But to be led to where God's glory flashes,
His beauty to be near.
Make clear, make clear, make clear where truth and light appear.
For is not this the fast that I have chosen?
(The prophet spoke) To shatter every yoke,
Of wickedness the grievous bands to loosen,
Oppression put to flight,
To fight, to fight, to fight, till every wrong's put right.
For righteousness and peace shall show their faces
To those who feed the hungry in their need,
And wrongs redress, who build the old waste places,
And in the darkness shine.
Divine, divine, divine, it is when all combine!
Then shall your light break forth as doth the morning;
Your health shall spring, the friends you make shall bring
God's glory bright, your way through life adorning; and love shall be the prize.
Arise, arise, arise! and make a paradise!