STLT#188, Come, Come, Whoever You Are

Ear Worm Alert! This round is so common in Unitarian Universalist circles it’s hard to remember that in the scheme of things, it’s only about as old as the grey hymnal itself. Yet here it is, a standard welcoming song, even if it’s incomplete. As my beloved colleague Lynn Ungar originally wrote it, this setting …

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STLT#187, It Sounds Along the Ages

What is it? What is it that sounds along the ages, that breathes from Buddha’s tree, that speaks new truth, that resounds from the eternal chime? Is it truth? Justice? Love? Spirit? Is it, as I first thought, Yes? Is it, in fact whatever it is we seek from the wisdom of humanity? What is …

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STLT#186, Grieve Not Your Heart

I don’t know what to say about this one. It’s not that I don’t get it – I do. It’s an encapsulation of Confucianism, ending in the golden rule. It captures the nuggets of carefully measured wisdom and advice a Confucian parent doles out to their child, reminding them that the way out of chaos …

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STLT#185, Your Mercy, Oh Eternal One

This is a devotional prayer if ever I heard one. And I suspect this text, by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, would make some Unitarian Universalists squeamish, this whole-hearted surrender to the Divine. Yet it is a vital theological perspective found in our congregations – even if those who adhere to it might not say it …

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STLT#184, Be Ye Lamps unto Yourselves

Gentle readers, I’m in an odd place with this one. I am certain (and am glad) there are people who draw strength and inspiration from this text, a beloved  (anonymously translated) passage from “Buddha’s Farewell Address” – a passage from the Mahaparinibbana Suttana. I don’t. I mean, I get what it’s about – it’s all over …

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STLT#182, O, the Beauty in a Life

I was expecting this to be a difficult song to learn – enough times, that “Irregular” at the bottom of the page signals complex rhythms and intervals. Yet once I got into it, and I felt the 9/8 rhythm (which is really a glorious 3/4), the song suddenly felt familiar, in a way that makes …

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STLT#180, Alhamdulillah (Alleluia)

I wish… I wish I lived with someone, because I would have made them sing this round with me so I could revel in the fullness of this beautiful piece. Although there’s a good chance I would have gotten the pre-coffee stink eye, so maybe it’s just as well. I wish the hymnal indicated that …

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STLT#178, Raghupati

This morning’s practice started as it normally does, with me flipping to the page and meeting my first reaction – depending on the song, it might be one of joy, apathy, annoyance, or curiosity. Having never sung or heard this one before, curiosity won the day. Because it’s in an unfamiliar language and set to …

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STLT#177, Sakura

I had the opportunity to sing this once, as a solo, to commemorate Hiroshima Day. While set on a pentatonic scale, it is in what musicologists call Phrygian Dominant Minor Mode – which is another term for “very unfamiliar but striking intervals that are at once difficult and haunting.” It was not easy for me to …

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STLT#176, Daya Kar Daan Bhakti Ka

I suspect most of us have flipped past this a thousand times. I suspect the combination of Hindi language, no translation, and fear of the unfamiliar keeps us away. And it’s too bad. Because not only is this a beautiful lyric, but it’s a beautiful and catchy melody. Take a listen: Isn’t that great? It’s …

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