STJ#1002, Comfort Me

Sometimes you have stories you just tell. Othertimes, you have stories that definitely have titles. I call this one “Snoring for God.” Our scene unfolds as my then boyfriend, Carl, and I are driving in New England. We’d started in White Plains (where Carl’s flight landed), drove over to Connecticut and hopped on Route 7, …

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STJ#1001, Breaths

You could call this one “How Is This My Life?” or maybe “God Bless the Revolution.”… and you’d certainly use the hashtag #MyUnion. But I think we’ll call this one “Our Rock Stars Are Not Your Rock Stars.” Now the rock star in question is not composer Ysaye Barnwell, although she is a rock star, …

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STJ#1000, Morning Has Come

I AM SO EXCITED I could plotz! Not only am I cracking the cover of the next hymnal this morning, I am singing one of my top ten favorite hymns, composed by the delightful Jason Shelton. This venture into Singing the Journey will look a little bit different than our time with Singing the Living …

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STLT#391, Voice Still and Small

I’m sitting with colleagues at White Eagle Conference Center near Hamilton, NY, with 22 colleagues retreating together. What strikes me about moments like this is how apart from time yet completely in the stream of time we are at these things – in the midst of programming last night, I learned a young neighbor died. …

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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 …

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STLT#347, Gather the Spirit

This hymn almost got ruined for me in 2009. That spring, Saratoga Springs’ minister, Linda Hoddy, went on sabbatical, leaving a congregation well prepared to hold the fort down. As chair of the worship committee, I was also on the sabbatical team, and after a fall spent ensuring we had all our ducks in a …

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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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STLT#323, Break Not the Circle

Just before I opened the hymnal, I saw a Facebook post from a dear friend who asked ‘But what if this world runs out of lovers? What then?” Then for me was opening the hymnal to this wonderful hymn, reminding us to draw the circle ever wider, because – as Susan Frederick Gray has reminded us, “no …

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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#318, We Would Be One

If this spiritual practice (and yes, I still consider it a spiritual practice first and foremost) has taught me anything, it’s taught me that we are an aspirational faith. Even those hymns which were once cutting edge and are now problematic show us the truth of our assertion that revelation is not sealed – as …

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