STLT#357, Bright Morning Stars

I started singing this morning before I opened the hymnal, because I knew what today’s song would be. “Bright morning star’s a-risin’…” I sang. And then I looked at our lyrics – “Bright morning stars are rising” – and thought, huh? Isn’t there just one morning star – the sun, or if we go Christian …

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STLT#355, We Lift Our Hearts in Thanks

Our English ethical culturist is back – this time with a more or less decent song of thanksgiving (puzzling placed in the Here and Now section). Good old Perceval Chubb… who once wrote an article stating that Americans ‘have an incapacity for leisure’ and whose O We Believe in Christmas felt pretty empty and apologetic. …

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STLT#353, Golden Breaks the Dawn

I wasn’t expecting to have a moment with this hymn. I don’t know what I was expecting – perhaps a morning of wading through information, or trying to ignore my personal exhaustion with nature metaphors (a product of this practice, to be sure – they don’t come barreling down in normal time), or a struggle …

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STLT#352, Find a Stillness

I love this prayer. Seriously, this meditative, prayerful hymn – lyrics by Carl Seaburg, set to a Transylvanian folk tune – is absolutely in my top ten list. I love the haunting, minor key of the tune as well as the phrasing. Some might say the third phrase is too high, but that’s what transposition …

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STLT#349, We Gather Together

On December 9th, this tune first appeared, and I suggested that “later in the hymnal, we sing the usual words.” Well, that ‘later’ is today, and while the first three words are the same as the usual words, that is where ‘usual’ ends. And so I stand here in my wrongness being wrong. And thank …

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STLT#348, Guide My Feet

Today, gentle readers, I offer you A Tale of Two Liturgical Moments. Because indeed, as our man Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The best of times was when I learned an arrangement of this African American spiritual in my seminary gospel choir; the harmonies were …

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STLT#347, Gather the Spirit

This hymn almost got ruined for me in 2009. That spring, Saratoga Springs’ minister, Linda Hoddy, went on sabbatical, leaving a congregation well prepared to hold the fort down. As chair of the worship committee, I was also on the sabbatical team, and after a fall spent ensuring we had all our ducks in a …

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STLT#346, Come, Sing a Song with Me

I’m finding things a little hard this morning (9/11, Irma, the memories this song stirs), so I’ll let Michael Tino introduce today’s post: “We confront the complex reality that something can be both insipid and profound simultaneously.” You see, this song by Carolyn McDade can be awfully sticky-sweet, with its rolling 3/4 time often played …

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