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#329, Life Has Loveliness to Sell

I’m just gonna say right up front that for all of my belief in beauty and its role in revealing truth and inspiring connection to Mystery, I dislike the premise of this hymn. The premise – that loveliness costs, that the spiritual and inspirational are currency, that this entire piece is set in a capitalist …

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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#317, We Are Not Our Own

Before I dive into the hymn, a few words about Charlottesville, since my only pulpit today is this one: I am certain I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said more publicly and eloquently by colleagues, friends, and admired public figures. But I too must proclaim this as loudly as possible, because we …

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STLT#248, O We Believe in Christmas

Um…yeah. Wow. Okay. Um… hooboy. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Not because I’m in awe or enraged, but because, well, wow… someone actually turned this into a song? Like, for us to sing? You see, I sing these words and what I hear is a minister trying to explain to …

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STLT#78, Color and Fragrance

Wherein I think about process, relationship, and resistance – set to a quaint tune. I don’t know how many congregations sing this hymn. I know that my home congregation sang it exactly once a year – at flower communion, a ritual devised by Unitarian minister Norbert Čapek in Prague in the 1920s and later brought to …

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