STJ#1019, Everything Possible

Things I wonder: Do some congregations sing this together fairly regularly? Do some music directors and ministers flip past it because it is somewhat complex if you don’t know it already? Do others flip past it because in 13 years we’ve learned that binary language is too restrictive? Does composer and colleague Fred Small have …

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STLT#358, Rank by Rank Again We Stand

I don’t even know where to begin, so I guess I’ll begin with this morning’s experience of singing. As frequent readers know, I’m an Anglophile – a lover of British television, British film, the British Isles, and at least once, a British person. Knowing this was today’s hymn before I cracked open the hymnal, I started …

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STLT#357, Bright Morning Stars

I started singing this morning before I opened the hymnal, because I knew what today’s song would be. “Bright morning star’s a-risin’…” I sang. And then I looked at our lyrics – “Bright morning stars are rising” – and thought, huh? Isn’t there just one morning star – the sun, or if we go Christian …

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STLT#348, Guide My Feet

Today, gentle readers, I offer you A Tale of Two Liturgical Moments. Because indeed, as our man Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The best of times was when I learned an arrangement of this African American spiritual in my seminary gospel choir; the harmonies were …

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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 …

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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 …

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STLT#74, On the Dusty Earth Drum

It’s time for everybody’s favorite new game, “Who Will Love This Hymn I Hate” – this week, starring lyricist Joseph Cotter and composer Frederich Filitz! I wish I could make sense of this one.  No, seriously. I mean, I get that the lyrics are a rain song, and thus appropriate for a section called The World …

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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#31, Name Unnamed

So…. (Chorus) Name unnamed, hidden and shown, knowing and known. Gloria! Beautifully moving, ceaselessly forming, growing, emerging with awesome delight, Maker of Rainbows, glowing with color, arching in wonder, energy flowing in darkness and light: (Chorus) Spinner of Chaos, pulling and twisting, freeing the fibers of pattern and form, Weaver of Stories, famed or unspoken, …

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STLT#23, Bring Many Names

Bring many names, beautiful and good; celebrate in parable and story, holiness in glory, living, loving God: hail and hosanna, bring many names. Strong mother God, working night and day, planning all the wonders of creation, setting each equation, genius at play: hail and hosanna, strong mother God! Warm father God, hugging ev’ry child, feeling …

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STLT#19, The Sun That Shines

The sun that shines across the sea, the wind that whispers in the tree, the lark that carols in the sky, the fleecy clouds a-sailing by, O, I’m as rich as rich can be, for all these things belong to me! The raindrops which refresh the earth, the springtime mantle of rebirth, the summer days …

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