STJ#1041, Santo

I suspect this piece doesn’t get used much in our congregations. The reason is probably that it’s in Spanish and is unfamiliar. And that’s too bad. I’d rather the reason be that we don’t often preach on Oscar Romero and liberation theology, or that we don’t often use any part of a Catholic mass in …

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STJ#1032, Daoona Nayeesh

Let us live in peace… let us die in peace. Wow. The song’s origins are, not surprising, found in the years following the attacks on 9/11: This song is the inspiration of a Muslim residing in the United States, Samir Badri. Samir recruited the composer(Ted Warmbrand), a Jew, to set his words to a tune, …

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STJ#1026, If Every Woman in the World

Among the lessons I have learned during this spiritual practice is that the hymnals of a denomination reflect history. Yes, there’s theological history, and certainly musical history, but there’s also a reflection of political and cultural history, if you pay attention. Singing the Living Tradition reflects the world as it was in the early 1990s …

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STJ#1023, Building Bridges

There is a moment in the film The Princes Bride, where Westley, who has been mostly dead all day, is trying to figure out how he and his companions Fezzick and Inigo can storm the castle to rescue Westley’s true love, Buttercup. However, having been mostly dead, and having only just taken the miracle pill …

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STJ#1018, Come and Go with Me

This might be, as the hymnal suggests, a spiritual from the time of American slavery. This might also be, as some online sources suggest, a traditional blues tune. I hate when the search for information in inconclusive. Because I don’t know whether to talk about the use of 19th century spirituals in our predominantly white …

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STJ#1017, Building a New Way

For all the awfulness of Reddit (a  social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website that recently had to crack down on alt-right and Nazi content/users), there is also some wonderfulness – from the AMA (Ask Me Anything) posts with famous and not so famous people, to the joy of helping others find songs, …

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STJ#1016, Profetiza, Pueblo Mio

I’m sad to say I’ve not sung this very much. I’m sad because I’ve opted for comfort and chosen other hymns for justice-oriented services, in part because I’m not as comfortable singing Spanish as I am other languages, in part because I’ve not had accompanists willing to try it, and in part because – at …

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STJ#1014, Answering the Call of Love

If you open your hymnal, you will see that the song has a different title printed. Now if you’ve been paying attention, you have also marked up this song’s title and lyrics, as per the composer’s instructions, changing “standing on the side” to the much less ableist and much more active “answering the call.” I …

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STLT#358, Rank by Rank Again We Stand

I don’t even know where to begin, so I guess I’ll begin with this morning’s experience of singing. As frequent readers know, I’m an Anglophile – a lover of British television, British film, the British Isles, and at least once, a British person. Knowing this was today’s hymn before I cracked open the hymnal, I started …

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STLT#337, Have I Not Known

I am in Peterborough, New Hampshire, preparing to lead a retreat with dear friend and colleague Diana McLean. And as I was preparing to write today, I waxed a little poetic about the Blake poem this hymn tune (Jerusalem, by Charles H.H. Parry) was written for. And I burst into tears. Like, not just a …

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