STLT#67, We Sing Now Together

Hey, look! We’ve entered the “Harvest and Thanksgiving” section of the hymnal. And we start right off with the usual Thanksgiving song. C.J.: There’s a usual song? DONNA: “We Gather Together.” C.J.: The song. DONNA: That’s the usual song. C.J.: So you know it? DONNA: Everybody knows it. C.J.: I don’t know it. DONNA: [sighs] …

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STLT#65, The Sweet June Days

Another season, another praise for the season song. Color me surprised. Now don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad thing. Hymns like this are wonderful openings for seasonal services, especially those that celebrate our seventh principle. And the tune is delightful and lively – this is a perfect opening hymn for the first …

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STLT#61, Lo, the Earth Awakes Again

And with one turn of a page, we enter the sublimely ridiculous. Yes, it’s time, in these last days of autumn, as the nights grow dark and cold, to begin singing our Spring and Summer songs. Because if spiritual practice teaches us anything, it’s to expect bizarre coincidences and juxtapositions. Plus, this is what I …

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STLT#60, In Time of Silver Rain

Some might say this is unsingable. It’s a complex, twentieth-century modern, sometimes atonal piece of music, and to the average congregant trying to sing for the first time, makes no sense and might make people run out the doors, never to come back. That’s because this isn’t a song for congregational singing. You see, what …

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STLT#58, Ring Out, Wild Bells

I love being surprised by a hymn. I opened the page and groaned a little at yet another hymn I don’t know – wild bells? Clouds? Frosty light? Oy vei. Here we go again, I thought. Another fairly fluffy lyric that doesn’t go anywhere. And oh, look, another tune I have never sung. I decided …

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STLT#56, Bells in the High Tower

I feel like I am supposed to be reverent about the Hungarian tune, because we have a connection to Hungary. I feel like I am supposed to be reverent about the lyrics, because it’s brimming with meaning. But the truth is, the entire thing leaves me cold and not very reverent at all. I’m having …

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STLT#55, Dark of Winter

This is such a gorgeous hymn, and a comforting one too. First, let’s talk melody – Shelley Denham knew what she was doing, writing a sort of lullaby to winter in a gentle 3/2. It is both simple to sing and delicious to sing. I imagine my college choir director reminding us to sing through …

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STLT#54, Now Light Is Less

Two new rules today, because the thing that makes UUs go “huh” should be the theology: Hymns should avoid using lyrics that have an ABBA rhyme scheme. Hymns should never end in words most people have to look up. Just look at these lyrics as a poem, which is how they started. Not bad, really. …

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