STJ#1054, Let This Be a House of Peace

There’s a thing that’s been happening in our congregations that is reflective of what’s been happening in our society: anxiety. Anxiety about the current administration – its real and sustained attacks on our principles and the real and sustained traumas we are experiencing – spill over from our personal lives into our houses of worship. …

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STJ#1006, In My Quiet Sorrow

This song speaks the truth in my heart. This song allows me to cry. This song is a balm to my soul. Composer Jeannie Gagné wrote it to give voice to “those things which are not expressed, kept within the silence of our hearts” (as noted here) – that moment after spoken joys and sorrows, to honor …

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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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STLT#408, Wonder of Wonders

Last night, friend and colleague Peggy Clarke told me this practice is “a source of insight.” Which is funny to me this morning, as I have absolutely nothing interesting to say about today’s hymn. No insight. No brilliant analysis. Not even a good joke… dang. Anyway, this hymn. It’s a decent Brian Wren lyric, set …

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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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STLT#339, Knowledge, They Say

If you’re looking for music to accompany a service about anti-intellectualism and fake news, this is your hymn. Heck, even if you’re just looking for music to accompany a service about James Luther Adams’ five smooth stones, or William Ellery Channing’s Baltimore sermon, or our fourth principle, this is your hymn. Knowledge, they say drives …

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STLT#334, When Shall We Learn

One of the cool things about this particular hymnal is that the commission had some remarkable 20th century poetry set to music, like this poem, “Canzone” by WH Auden. The downside, of course, is that most of those poems – including “Canzone” – are far longer and intricate than we have breath for in a …

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