STJ#1054, Let This Be a House of Peace

There’s a thing that’s been happening in our congregations that is reflective of what’s been happening in our society: anxiety. Anxiety about the current administration – its real and sustained attacks on our principles and the real and sustained traumas we are experiencing – spill over from our personal lives into our houses of worship. …

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STJ#1052, The Oneness of Everything

I don’t know if it’s still true, but I remember in high school learning a bit about quantum physics – enough at least to know that physicists at the time weren’t sure if the universe is made of particles or waves. (Google suggests that there’s now an uncomfortable acceptance of a duality, but that’s a …

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STLT#323, Break Not the Circle

Just before I opened the hymnal, I saw a Facebook post from a dear friend who asked ‘But what if this world runs out of lovers? What then?” Then for me was opening the hymnal to this wonderful hymn, reminding us to draw the circle ever wider, because – as Susan Frederick Gray has reminded us, “no …

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STLT#318, We Would Be One

If this spiritual practice (and yes, I still consider it a spiritual practice first and foremost) has taught me anything, it’s taught me that we are an aspirational faith. Even those hymns which were once cutting edge and are now problematic show us the truth of our assertion that revelation is not sealed – as …

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STLT#194, Faith Is a Forest

Shelley Jackson Denham is a denominational treasure. This hymn was commissioned by the hymnal commission, and wow, did she deliver. I know some might avoid this one because it’s an unfamiliar tune, but trust me when I say that (a) it’s not that difficult – although you definitely don’t want to just spring it on …

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STLT#169, We Shall Overcome

My first instinct this morning was to talk around the history of this song to get to a discussion of grammar – namely the meaning that shifts when we go from singing ‘we will overcome’ to ‘we shall overcome’… there’s something there, but god help me I just can’t be bothered to dig in. And …

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STLT#159, This Is My Song

This hymn, y’all. First – we’re already into the Peace section; Labor and Learning was short, sweet, and to the point. Second – I am not Finnish. Nowhere in my family’s known genealogy is there any Scandinavian blood; we’re all German and English, with a dollop of Dutch and a dash of Irish. Yet this …

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STLT#141, I’ve Got a New Name

Y’all, this song brings up the same commentary about aspiration, and the same commentary about cultural appropriation, and the same commentary about gender inclusion, and the same commentary about zipper songs that I’ve offered before and will be compelled to offer again. And the truth is, I’m too tired to make the same arguments again. …

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STLT#138, These Things Shall Be

We now enter what we might call “The New Eden” section but which we actually call “In Time To Come” – this section is very aspirational, very “kingdom of heaven.” Which, I suppose, is needed, and helpful – goodness knows Dr. King’s “I have a dream” motivated people to reach for it, to believe in …

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STLT#95, There Is More Love Somewhere

So many choices this morning… Do I talk about the person for whom this tune is named, Steve Biko, the South African activist who spearheaded the Black Consciousness movement and died from injuries sustained while in police custody? Do I talk about the handy term zipper song, which indicates a song, often sung a capella, with …

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STLT#68, Come, Ye Thankful People

I’ve been watching the series The Crown on Netflix – it’s the story of the first few years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, told in that predictably sweeping BBC style that endears to us such shows as Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. It’s full of beautiful scenery, palace intrigue (literally in this …

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