STLT#352, Find a Stillness

I love this prayer. Seriously, this meditative, prayerful hymn – lyrics by Carl Seaburg, set to a Transylvanian folk tune – is absolutely in my top ten list. I love the haunting, minor key of the tune as well as the phrasing. Some might say the third phrase is too high, but that’s what transposition …

More

STLT#334, When Shall We Learn

One of the cool things about this particular hymnal is that the commission had some remarkable 20th century poetry set to music, like this poem, “Canzone” by WH Auden. The downside, of course, is that most of those poems – including “Canzone” – are far longer and intricate than we have breath for in a …

More

STLT#62, When the Daffodils Arrive

This hymn has genuinely surprised me. First, let’s talk tune: it’s set to an Hasidic melody that holds in its phrases a secret and unspoken longing – certainly an intriguing choice for a hymn called “When the Daffodils Arrive.” I will also say that at first, I plunked it out fairly slowly – but then I …

More

STLT#60, In Time of Silver Rain

Some might say this is unsingable. It’s a complex, twentieth-century modern, sometimes atonal piece of music, and to the average congregant trying to sing for the first time, makes no sense and might make people run out the doors, never to come back. That’s because this isn’t a song for congregational singing. You see, what …

More

STLT#58, Ring Out, Wild Bells

I love being surprised by a hymn. I opened the page and groaned a little at yet another hymn I don’t know – wild bells? Clouds? Frosty light? Oy vei. Here we go again, I thought. Another fairly fluffy lyric that doesn’t go anywhere. And oh, look, another tune I have never sung. I decided …

More

STLT#37, God Who Fills the Universe

I don’t feel much like singing today. And in fact, I considered skipping today – hoping you all would understand that for those of us who regularly answer the call of love and justice, the American presidential election results have at least temporarily silenced the music. But here I am, and this spiritual practice today …

More

STLT#24, Far Rolling Voices

Far rolling voices of the sea chant loud upon the shore. They tell the ancient mystery of God forever more. Newborn, the sun in glory rides across the heav’nly fields. The starry host in silence bides and to the morning yields. White seabirds wheel against the sky, companioned with the dawn. God, lift our winging …

More