STLT#323, Break Not the Circle

Just before I opened the hymnal, I saw a Facebook post from a dear friend who asked ‘But what if this world runs out of lovers? What then?” Then for me was opening the hymnal to this wonderful hymn, reminding us to draw the circle ever wider, because – as Susan Frederick Gray has reminded us, “no …

More

STLT#322, Thanks Be for These

One of the delights of being an active member and now religious professional in the Saint Lawrence District (upstate NY and part of Ontario) is getting to know Richard and Joyce Gilbert a little. They are so much a part of my story, in the way peanuts are a part of a Snickers bar – …

More

STLT#320, The Pen Is Greater

I wish… I wish I felt better so I could really dig into this hymn. I wish I had looked ahead and scheduled a Hymn-by-Hymn conversation with Suzanne Fast about this hymn. I’ll just say that having had a conversation with Suzanne at General Assembly, I now understand how difficult this embracing our bodies without …

More

STLT#318, We Would Be One

If this spiritual practice (and yes, I still consider it a spiritual practice first and foremost) has taught me anything, it’s taught me that we are an aspirational faith. Even those hymns which were once cutting edge and are now problematic show us the truth of our assertion that revelation is not sealed – as …

More

STLT#317, We Are Not Our Own

Before I dive into the hymn, a few words about Charlottesville, since my only pulpit today is this one: I am certain I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said more publicly and eloquently by colleagues, friends, and admired public figures. But I too must proclaim this as loudly as possible, because we …

More

STLT#316, Tradition Held Fast

The last thing I want to do is write a blog post about a song entitled “tradition held fast” on the morning after a spontaneous alt-right march encircled a church where friends and colleagues were praying in preparation for today’s hate-filled rally in Charlottesville. The march – complete with torches (but no hoods – hate is …

More

STLT#315, This Old World

Am I the only one who sees the first line of this song and thinks of “Man of Constant Sorrow” from O Brother, Where Are Thou? Really? It’s just me? Can’t be. Anyway…  this is another one I have never sung, and likely never would have chosen because it’s got a title “This Old World” and is …

More

STLT#310, The Earth Is Home

I don’t think I’m awake enough yet. I’ve been puzzled by hymns before, but I’m not sure I’ve been baffled by them. I swear, I am sitting here, having actually tried to sing this and wondering what just happened and can I get those five minutes back, please. I know you’ve all come to expect …

More