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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STLT#55, Dark of Winter

This is such a gorgeous hymn, and a comforting one too. First, let’s talk melody – Shelley Denham knew what she was doing, writing a sort of lullaby to winter in a gentle 3/2. It is both simple to sing and delicious to sing. I imagine my college choir director reminding us to sing through …

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