STJ#1020, Woyaya

This song has been in the water for me since the late 70s, when somewhere (maybe Girl Scout camp?) I was taught the piece in the style of Art Garfunkel from his 1973 album Angel Clare. Sometime in the early 1990s, I sang a choral version that had the mark of Sweet Honey in the …

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STJ#1019, Everything Possible

Things I wonder: Do some congregations sing this together fairly regularly? Do some music directors and ministers flip past it because it is somewhat complex if you don’t know it already? Do others flip past it because in 13 years we’ve learned that binary language is too restrictive? Does composer and colleague Fred Small have …

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STJ#1004, Busca el Amor

There’s a terrible film from 1999 called The 13th Warrior featuring Antonio Banderas playing a 10th century Arab ambassador to northern Europe; he somehow finds himself included in a group of Vikings setting out to deal with a threat in a distant Viking land.  At the start of this quest, Banderas understands no Norse and …

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STLT#411, Part in Peace

Hmmm. I really don’t have much to say, because I don’t know how I feel about this one. (Also, I’m squeezing this reflection into a day full of fall house cleaning.) What I can tell you is the lyrics, by Sarah Flower Adams (of Abide with Me fame), set to the Charleston tune (which you …

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STLT#402, From You I Receive

I was about to write something quick about this quick little song, and then go on with my day. I was going to write something like “how sweet and familiar this is” and something else about how some congregations accept the offering by singing this. And then I was going to add a quick note about …

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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#398, To See the World

Programming Note: I’ve added a lovely piece from Mary Grigolia about her song I Know This Rose Will Open, from an email exchange we had, about the origins and meaning of that song. After you read this, go to that entry and check it out! — There are days in this practice when the little …

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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#386, Alleluia Chaconne

Next on the Countdown, it’s the original one hit wonder. (I’m apparently channeling the late Casey Kasem right now… a throwback to my misspent youth.) While a working organist, composer, and teacher most of his life, German musician Johann Pachelbel produced more than 200 pieces throughout his lifetime, earning himself a place as one of the …

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