STJ#1050, Jazz Alleluia

As I have mentioned before, I love an Alleluia. And as I have mentioned before, I love music in 5, whether it’s 5/4 or 5/8, as we find here. And as I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of composer Tom Benjamin. So there’s not much left to say, except this is a perfect storm …

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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#1023, Building Bridges

There is a moment in the film The Princes Bride, where Westley, who has been mostly dead all day, is trying to figure out how he and his companions Fezzick and Inigo can storm the castle to rescue Westley’s true love, Buttercup. However, having been mostly dead, and having only just taken the miracle pill …

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STJ#1013, Open My Heart

Hmm.  Welcome to another edition of “I want to like this one.” I hate when I get to these moments in this practice; I often wonder if I’m being too critical, or too obtuse, or too…something. But this prayerful round, written by UU composer Henry Flurry, feels like a camel – a horse built by …

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STJ#1003, Where Do We Come From?

Throughout this practice, I’ve happened upon many hymns that were inspired by (or were outright settings of) poetry; that makes sense, as lyric forms seek out one another naturally. But this is the first time I’ve encountered one inspired by paintings. As noted on the UUA’s Song Information page, The lyrics of this song come …

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STLT#400, Shalom Havareem

This morning I am grateful for Google’s proximate search capabilities. You see, I typed in the title of today’s hymn, a sweet traditional Jewish round, and it corrected me in that totally not shaming way Google has, by sending me results with ‘chaverim’ instead of the more phonetic ‘havayreem’. It also presented me with a …

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STLT#399, Vine and Fig Tree

In my last year of seminary, I and five of my most creative friends co-created and produced a Broadway revue that told the story of the book of Exodus. We began our work with Biblical preparation led by Old Testament scholar David M. Carr: not just reading and exegeting the text but also examining the …

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STLT#396, I Know This Rose Will Open

Lovely Update Below! Things I don’t know: I don’t know composer and colleague Mary Grigolia, although I feel like I should. I don’t know when I learned this, but it was sometime between the Louisville General Assembly (summer 2013) and the Florida Chapter UUMA retreat (spring 2015). I don’t know why I never heard it or …

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STLT#395, Sing and Rejoice

Friends, I am running out of things to say about these little rounds. This one – another song of unknown origin – is sweet and very pretty when fully sung. Which is a sentence I have typed before and I fear will type again. You see, the thing is – the rounds themselves are good …

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STLT#394, Hava Nashirah

This song calls to us: “Come! Let’s be singing!” And what shall we sing? “Sing alleluia!” That’s it. That’s the song. In English and in Hebrew. Hava nashirah. Shirah alleluia! Hava nashirah. Shirah alleluia! Hava nashirah. Shirah alleluia! Come, let’s be singing. Sing alleluia! Come, let’s be singing. Sing alleluia! Come, let’s be singing. Sing …

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STLT#393, Jubilate Deo

First – apologies for the delay this morning. A great ministers’ retreat also meant late nights and early mornings and I decided turning off my alarm was a smart move. Second – I don’t have much for you today. I could blame it on the grogginess of a long sleep, but really, there’s not much …

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STLT#389, Gathered Here

Yesterday, as we closed the New York State Convention of Universalists/Hudson Mohawk Cluster gathering, my colleague Sam Trumbore called for us to sing something together. “What shall we sing?” he asked, looking at me because he knows I do this. And embarrassingly, my mind went blank. Fortunately, someone else piped up with a song (Come …

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STLT#388, Dona Nobis Pacem

I have sung this a thousand times since childhood, around the campfire, at vigils, even once at an evening memorial service. It’s as familiar as my own skin. Yet when I think of it, I don’t think of the vigil or the campfire or the memorial service. I think of M*A*S*H. In particular, the episode …

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