The term “Passiontide” traditionally refers to the two weeks preceding Easter, so the fifth Sunday in Lent has commonly been known as Passion Sunday. Our service on Passion Sunday contains many references to the passion (that is, the suffering) of our Lord. The final verse in the Gospel reading depicts an outright attempt to kill Jesus. The Introit, Tract, and Offertory propers include Psalm texts that allude to the suffering of the Servant of God; the Tract in particular describes the specific wounds that Christ would bear: “the plowers plowed upon my back and made long furrows.” Our anthem today contains another Psalm text, verse 5 from Psalm 31, which is probably best known because Jesus cited it from the cross just before he died: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, O Lord, O God of truth.” In addition to anticipating the suffering of Christ, this Psalm is a powerful statement of the steadfast love of God. It begins: “In Thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion, deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; make haste to deliver me.” The Psalmist calls out to God, Who is his “strong rock, and house of defense.” God is his castle or fortress (hence our opening hymn this week). Psalm 31 (a rich source of meditation for the next two weeks) ends on a note of confident hope: “Be strong, and he shall establish your heart, all ye that put your trust in the Lord.” Our anthem setting, “In manus tuas,” is by John Sheppard (c. 1515-1558), one of the greatest composers of the Tudor period.