STJ#1060, As We Sing of Hope and Joy

I am torn this morning between heartbreak and duty: my duty to myself to follow through on this spiritual practice and write something – anything – in response to the day’s singing; my heartbreak over yesterday’s death of one of my cats, a 15 year old black cat named Chelsea who was found dumpster diving …

More

STJ#1051, We Are…

More than once during my years at Union Theological Seminary, I said to myself “what is my life even like?” because of some improbable experience or another. To be clear, I didn’t choose to go to Union because of the possibility of meeting important or famous people;- I went because of the possibilities awaiting me …

More

STJ#1048, Ubi Caritas

You say the words “ubi caritas” to me and my heart sings as I think of the many experiences I have had singing those words. And if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective), you’ll hear me waxing poetic about the lush music these words are often set to. I don’t think it’s a …

More

STJ#1047, Nada Te Turbe

We have just entered my favorite section of Singing the Journey: the spot where instead of spreading them out, we get a series of Taizé songs all together. It’s my favorite section, although individually they’re not all on my list of favorites – not that any of them are bad, but some are beloved more …

More

STJ#1040, Hush

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” and thus begins my own story, A Tale of Two Memories. The first memory of this song is set in a hotel suite in St. Paul, MN, where the inaugural group of students in the Music Leader Credentialing program gathered to talk about …

More

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 …

More

STJ#1011, Return Again

There’s a wonderful podcast called Song Exploder, where host Hrishikesh Hirway invites songwriters to talk about the origins and construction of their songs; they ‘explode’ the song apart to share insights about the ideas for the song, and about the various parts as it goes from hummed melody and chords on a piano to fully …

More

STJ#1009, Meditation on Breathing

Among the many things I have learned in this practice is that while on one level, hymns are communal, they are in fact highly personal; a song one might love is the very one that another hates with the fire of a thousand suns. Some of my favorites have been met with derision, and some of the hymns …

More

STJ#1006, In My Quiet Sorrow

This song speaks the truth in my heart. This song allows me to cry. This song is a balm to my soul. Composer Jeannie Gagné wrote it to give voice to “those things which are not expressed, kept within the silence of our hearts” (as noted here) – that moment after spoken joys and sorrows, to honor …

More