STJ#1070, Mother I Feel You

They say brevity is the source of wit; I can affirm that a stomach flu is the source of brevity. So I’ll be brief: The second part of our quodlibet is this chant by Windsong Dianne Martin. As noted on the UUA Song Information page, This song was written on Spencer’s Butte, Eugene, Oregon in …

More

STJ#1069, Ancient Mother

Sometimes the universe likes to prepare you in advance for something you will need. In some cases, it’s the impulse buy that comes in handy later that month, or a song you hear that the choir director asks you to sing a week later, or in my case, it’s a conversation on Wednesday that leads to …

More

STJ#1068, Rising Green

This may be one of the most elegantly crafted songs in our hymnals. I mean no offense to other composers who read this, or to those songs that are also beloved. But there is something absolutely wondrous in this composition by Carolyn McDade. On its surface, the song is another earth based song of praise …

More

STJ#1066, O Brother Sun

Rejected intro paragraphs: This makes me think of Greg Greenway, Joe Jencks, and Pat Wictor – the members of the musical group Brother Sun. Except they’ve broken up now, and any memory I have of them has nothing to do with the song. It’s nice to have a song that’s good to call the directions with…except…wait… …

More

STJ#1065, Alabanza

From so much to say to little to say. (Which is, of course, the nature of spiritual practice.) This is a lovely tune, by  Pablo Fernández Badillo, a Puerto Rican lay minister and federal judge who held various positions in the Puerto Rican government. Yet it is his time as a missionary that led to …

More

STJ#1064, Blue Boat Home

FREEBIRD! Let me explain (updated 1/22/2018): at General Assembly in Louisville in 2013, despite terrible cell reception, many attendees endeavored to live tweet the events as they unfolded. On Friday morning, we sang Blue Boat Home. Friend and colleague Hannah Roberts made a comment to her friend Meredith Lukow, who tweeted: … because like “Freebird” by …

More

STJ#1063, Winter Solstice Chant

I’m sure there is someone who loves this piece. I’m sure there is someone who isn’t bothered by gendered language. I’m sure there is someone who thinks four verses makes a chant. I am not that someone. Children of the Earth, we have come to sing to each other, Sister to Brother, songs of our …

More

STJ#1060, As We Sing of Hope and Joy

I am torn this morning between heartbreak and duty: my duty to myself to follow through on this spiritual practice and write something – anything – in response to the day’s singing; my heartbreak over yesterday’s death of one of my cats, a 15 year old black cat named Chelsea who was found dumpster diving …

More

STJ#1058 Be Ours a Religion

I want to start with a word of gratitude for the STJ hymnal commission, who thought to include some short responses in this slim volume. It would have been easy to only include bigger songs and hymns, but they knew (probably because most of them were music directors themselves) that we needed fresh music to …

More

STJ#1057, Go Lifted Up

Lord, the days are hard. No sooner do we wrap our brains around one major news story than another one, or ten comes barreling down on us. What we need is something warm and loving and sweet. Sometimes it’s a sweet song that is just what the doctor ordered. And to be honest, there isn’t …

More