STJ#1074, Turn the World Around

I may be wildly speculating here, but I am pretty sure there isn’t a person my age brought up in the United States that wasn’t in some way inspired by/shaped by/comforted by/taught by/entertained by the Muppets. Now this is likely also true for people not in their early 50s, but I know that we who …

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STJ#1068, Rising Green

This may be one of the most elegantly crafted songs in our hymnals. I mean no offense to other composers who read this, or to those songs that are also beloved. But there is something absolutely wondrous in this composition by Carolyn McDade. On its surface, the song is another earth based song of praise …

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STJ#1064, Blue Boat Home

FREEBIRD! Let me explain (updated 1/22/2018): at General Assembly in Louisville in 2013, despite terrible cell reception, many attendees endeavored to live tweet the events as they unfolded. On Friday morning, we sang Blue Boat Home. Friend and colleague Hannah Roberts made a comment to her friend Meredith Lukow, who tweeted: … because like “Freebird” by …

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STJ#1057, Go Lifted Up

Lord, the days are hard. No sooner do we wrap our brains around one major news story than another one, or ten comes barreling down on us. What we need is something warm and loving and sweet. Sometimes it’s a sweet song that is just what the doctor ordered. And to be honest, there isn’t …

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STJ#1053, How Could Anyone

In 1991, even as my life was falling apart after a messy breakup, I was welcomed into a community of singers known as the Common Woman Chorus. Started by a delightful woman named Eleanor Sableski (may she rest in peace), who was also the music director at Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, North …

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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 …

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STJ#1050, Jazz Alleluia

As I have mentioned before, I love an Alleluia. And as I have mentioned before, I love music in 5, whether it’s 5/4 or 5/8, as we find here. And as I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of composer Tom Benjamin. So there’s not much left to say, except this is a perfect storm …

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STJ#1027, Cuando el Pobre

One of my favorite December Sundays is the one a minister designates as “Mitten Tree Sunday.” For those who haven’t experienced this wonderful service, it begins with a Christmas tree on the chancel, empty but for some lights. Often, the Candace Christiansen story that inspired the service is told, other times different stories about giving …

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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 …

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