Sometimes we confuse somber with slow, penitential with plodding. Although the pace of worship and music matters, and in some ways tempo and piety are intertwined, they are not as formulaic as their use in Christian worship sometimes might suggest. Faster does not equal more joyous. Consider popular music. Some of the quickest music around—bluegrass and death metal—can be both dark and penitential, often in the extreme.
If you are the musician planning worship this season, review the tempo at which you are leading worship, particularly the hymns. It is easy to get into a rut. Remember that you play the music not for yourself, or even for the music itself, but for the assembly. Your call is to lead the assembly in song. An excellent read that explores this concept in greater detail is Paul Westermeyer's The Church Musician (Augsburg Fortress, rev. ed., 1997). Every musical choice, however complex or artistic, should be in the service of the church singing with one voice.
—From the seasonal essays for Lent, Sundays and Seasons 2015 (Augsburg Fortress, 2014).
All instrumental and choral titles in the Lent, Easter, Spring 2015 line from Augsburg Fortress are available for instant download. Consider these choral titles for use throughout these seasons:
Grace and peace to you and your music ministry this Lenten season.