STLT#294, Our Praise We Give

Here at SUUSI, we have a yearly theme; this year’s is “Blessed Is the Path,” and the resulting worship services have explored the many ways we are on our path, what we may encounter on the path, and what it means to say ‘yes’ to the path. Of course, my mind has spent a little …

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STLT#293, O Star of Truth

So… I’m not sure about this one. On the one hand, it’s a wonderful piece about our first source – our personal experience of awe and wonder, singing praise to the “star of truth”  – which is a wonderful name for that which some call God. On the other hand, there seems to be a bit of …

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STLT#290, Bring, O Past, Your Honor

I don’t wanna do this any more if it means I have to be eloquent and insightful about hymns like this one. Now I am sure there were good reasons for the Hymnal Commission to include it. The lyrics – written by Unitarian minister, professor at Meadville, and church historian Charles Lyttle – are indeed a …

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STLT#287, Faith of the Larger Liberty

Yesterday morning, I spent an hour with friend and colleague Chip Roush planning one of the services for SUUSI, the Southeast UU Summer Institute (where fellow hymn geeks can geek out with me about hymns). We looked at one whose words were fantastic but whose tune just won’t work for this casual, folky, funky crowd. …

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STLT#286, A Core of Silence

Programming Note: If you are going to be at SUUSI, drop me a note – I’d love to sing and talk about hymns with you! — Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks of this when flipping past this page of the hymnal: But silliness aside, I never really looked at this …

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STLT#285, We Worship Thee, God

In case we didn’t get enough of Psalm 104, we have another setting – another classic hymn, widely used, apparently. I’m feeling quite cynical about it.  I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to praise that which I call God – but I don’t know… right now I feel like hymns such as these …

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STLT#284, Praise, O My Heart, to You

As regular readers know, one of my hymnody pet peeves is a lyric that is essentially a list and doesn’t go anywhere. Brian Wren does this, but we’ve also seen it in that seemingly endless stream of spring and summer songs early on. Look at all the things! The things are awesome. And here we go again. …

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STLT#283, The Spacious Firmament on High

Occasionally, I will remark on Facebook that I have nothing interesting to say, and at least thrice, it’s happened on the same day in August (the 7th), and my friend and colleague Tim Atkins actually meme’d it for me. But I also recognize that there is more than one Nothing Interesting To Say Day, because today …

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STLT#282, Let the Whole Creation Cry

Once upon a time, there was a psalm. This psalm, numbered 148, is a song of praise for the universality of God. It asks humans, rocks, cedars, even cattle and sea monsters and frost and fire to praise God. This psalm inspired a Victorian theologian of Irish descent, Stopford Brooke, to write a hymn. This hymn …

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STLT#281, O God, Our Help in Ages Past

My god but I love Eddie Izzard. This brilliant, English, marathon running, gender-bending atheist is one of the best comedians living today. He shares brilliantly, funny ideas from pop culture, high culture, history, science, and everyday life – with a wit that doesn’t talk down but rather lifts up. I’ve seen him in person as well as …

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STLT#280, Haleluhu

Today’s hymn brings together several things I really love: a joyful Hebrew folk melody in a minor key, a simple song that can be repeated as a chant, and a setting of Psalm 150 that reminds us to be joyful. There’s not a lot to say about this one, as it’s fairly straightforward. And even my …

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