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#398, To See the World

Programming Note: I’ve added a lovely piece from Mary Grigolia about her song I Know This Rose Will Open, from an email exchange we had, about the origins and meaning of that song. After you read this, go to that entry and check it out! — There are days in this practice when the little …

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STLT#393, Jubilate Deo

First – apologies for the delay this morning. A great ministers’ retreat also meant late nights and early mornings and I decided turning off my alarm was a smart move. Second – I don’t have much for you today. I could blame it on the grogginess of a long sleep, but really, there’s not much …

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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#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#384, Alleluia

Yay! Another alleluia! Today’s is made better for two reasons: First, my colleague and friend Amy Zucker Morgenstern wrote this in the comments for yesterday’s Alleluia: The word doesn’t really mean “praise the lord.” It means “praise Yah,” one of the many Hebrew euphemisms for God, since God’s name is unpronounceable. Some of them do translate …

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STLT#368, Now Let Us Sing

It’s 24 hours since nearly five dozen people died and nearly 600 were wounded by a single gunman wreaking terror in Las Vegas. And I still don’t have words, only the heaviness in my heart that is both sad and outraged. That is, I suppose, why the Universe keeps doing this: putting cheerful, aspirational, hopeful songs …

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STLT#365, Praise God

Hey, now this one is interesting. Back in the 1920s, the humanist-theist battle was already taking shape, and much the same as now, worship becomes the battleground for such controversies. Charles Lyttle, minister and professor of church history at Meadville, wrote these lyrics for a doxology “as a bridge” between the two theological factions. Praise …

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STLT#362, Rise Up, O Flame

We have now entered (and rejoiced, and came in) a new phase in this practice – the short songs. The rounds, the doxologies, the introits, the chalice lightings, and the benedictions. I have no idea how this section will feel. I admit that this morning it feels a little disappointing, as there’s not much to …

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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#357, Bright Morning Stars

I started singing this morning before I opened the hymnal, because I knew what today’s song would be. “Bright morning star’s a-risin’…” I sang. And then I looked at our lyrics – “Bright morning stars are rising” – and thought, huh? Isn’t there just one morning star – the sun, or if we go Christian …

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