STJ#1044, Eli, Eli

Happy New Year! In the words of Colonel Sherman Potter (M*A*S*H), “may it be a damn sight better than the old one.” If today’s hymn is any indication, it will be full of beautiful reminders that there is a love holding us. This haunting song, composed by David Zehavi, is based on a poem by an …

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STJ#1041, Santo

I suspect this piece doesn’t get used much in our congregations. The reason is probably that it’s in Spanish and is unfamiliar. And that’s too bad. I’d rather the reason be that we don’t often preach on Oscar Romero and liberation theology, or that we don’t often use any part of a Catholic mass in …

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STJ#1040, Hush

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” and thus begins my own story, A Tale of Two Memories. The first memory of this song is set in a hotel suite in St. Paul, MN, where the inaugural group of students in the Music Leader Credentialing program gathered to talk about …

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STJ#1039, Be Thou with Us

I’ve been wandering around the house for the better part of an hour, singing this sweet little piece by Tom Benjamin, with two questions on my mind: First, what can I possibly say about this piece I quite like, when it’s short, theologically and ethically sound, and just plain pretty? Second, and perhaps more importantly: is …

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STJ#1036, Calypso Alleluia

Happy Christmas Eve – let’s sing an Alleluia! A number of years ago, Tom Benjamin (whose work graces many pages of both hymnals) put out a collection of 62 Responses, Benedictions, Introits, and Chalice Lighting Songs, which add music to many elements we think of as spoken. Some are short, some are longer. Some are …

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STJ#1034, De Noche

One of the Facebook memes going around right now is about memories – namely, asking for people to post memories of you, with a fair bit of delight at the answers. If my friend and colleague Ashley DeTar Birt were to ask, I would be hard pressed to pick just one memory, as our friendship, which began the first week …

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STJ#1032, Daoona Nayeesh

Let us live in peace… let us die in peace. Wow. The song’s origins are, not surprising, found in the years following the attacks on 9/11: This song is the inspiration of a Muslim residing in the United States, Samir Badri. Samir recruited the composer(Ted Warmbrand), a Jew, to set his words to a tune, …

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STJ#1030, Siyahamba

Y’all took the joy right out of this one for me. You know who “you” are – you who dislike this one, you who find the Zulu difficult, you who argue against the word “God” in the translation, you who think it’s overused or too cheesy, you who won’t use it for other reasons you …

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