Here in Japan, it's the second day of Lent. I imagine there are three types of people reading this: those for whom Lent is a longstanding tradition, prepared for and planned; those for whom it's a recent discovery that is enriching your faith and through which you're excited to try something new this year; and those who are going "Oops? Wait, don't you mean Advent?"
(As a sidenote, Mike Cosper wrote a good article on why we should observe Ash Wednesday, the traditional opening to Lent. Read it, especially if you're wondering why. It made me sad that we didn't in our chapel this year.)
Well, regardless of your position on all of that, this is a great time of year to listen to music which illuminates the reasons Christ went to the cross and helps us to thank God for it. To that end, I have two suggestions:
Songs for the Cross-Centered Life from Sovereign Grace Music - Yes, it's a couple of years old, but for reasons which completely escape me, SGM still seems to be not as widely known as it should be. This is a well-executed album with excellent content, and some songs you may already know ("Before the Throne") and a retuned hymn or two ("Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed").
Rise O Buried Lord from Redeemer Knoxville - This is brand spankin' new, and I learned about it when Bobby Gilles tweeted it. And I am a little bit obsessed. This album is earthier, with a bluegrassy feel (without feeling super country) and an joyful "everybody can sing" attitude that includes a wide range of voices and instruments. It includes several tunes and several hymns that I know, but they are paired up in different ways than I've heard before. Highlights include "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and "Welcome, Happy Morning". It is actually designed to span Holy Week, from Palm Sunday (when we remember the fickle crowds hailing Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem) to Maundy Thursday (the Last Supper) to Good Friday (Jesus' death on the cross) to Easter Sunday. Certain songs pertain to each occasion. See below for a sampling.
Happy listening! Do you have favorite Lent/Easter music to share?