STLT#322, Thanks Be for These

One of the delights of being an active member and now religious professional in the Saint Lawrence District (upstate NY and part of Ontario) is getting to know Richard and Joyce Gilbert a little. They are so much a part of my story, in the way peanuts are a part of a Snickers bar – …

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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#316, Tradition Held Fast

The last thing I want to do is write a blog post about a song entitled “tradition held fast” on the morning after a spontaneous alt-right march encircled a church where friends and colleagues were praying in preparation for today’s hate-filled rally in Charlottesville. The march – complete with torches (but no hoods – hate is …

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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#69, Give Thanks

I looked at the title and started singing the hymn before I’d even gotten to the page. I knew this was another one of those wonderful Southern Harmony tunes, and I relished in it as I flipped open the hymnal. “What more can I say about Southern Harmony?” I said to myself. “I don’t want …

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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#66, When the Summer Sun Is Shining

What is it about the Southern Harmony tunes? There’s something that just gets me about them – they get inside me and speak deeply to my soul. In a recent episode of Krista Tippett’s On Being with Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, two amazing banjo players and musicians, Washburn talks about hearing Doc Watson for the …

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STLT#49, Stillness Reigns

That time I kept forgetting to sing. Stillness reigns, the winds are sleeping. All the world is bent on keeping tryst with night, whose wings are sweeping from the west each ray of light. Dusk, a soft and silken cover, over all is seen to hover in its readiness to cover all the drowsy world, …

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