STJ#1058 Be Ours a Religion

I want to start with a word of gratitude for the STJ hymnal commission, who thought to include some short responses in this slim volume. It would have been easy to only include bigger songs and hymns, but they knew (probably because most of them were music directors themselves) that we needed fresh music to …

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STJ#1052, The Oneness of Everything

I don’t know if it’s still true, but I remember in high school learning a bit about quantum physics – enough at least to know that physicists at the time weren’t sure if the universe is made of particles or waves. (Google suggests that there’s now an uncomfortable acceptance of a duality, but that’s a …

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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#1041, Santo

I suspect this piece doesn’t get used much in our congregations. The reason is probably that it’s in Spanish and is unfamiliar. And that’s too bad. I’d rather the reason be that we don’t often preach on Oscar Romero and liberation theology, or that we don’t often use any part of a Catholic mass in …

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STJ#1036, Calypso Alleluia

Happy Christmas Eve – let’s sing an Alleluia! A number of years ago, Tom Benjamin (whose work graces many pages of both hymnals) put out a collection of 62 Responses, Benedictions, Introits, and Chalice Lighting Songs, which add music to many elements we think of as spoken. Some are short, some are longer. Some are …

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STJ#1024, When the Spirit Says Do

I feel like I have fallen down a strange rabbit hole this morning. I have to begin by assuring you all that I have no doubt about the excellent work our STJ hymnal commission did in gathering, researching, and arranging the 75 songs in this hymnal supplement. I recognize that we are always learning more, …

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STJ#1022, Open the Window

For about a dozen years, my mother lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina – it’s how I got to the state too. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I would come in from the Raleigh-Durham area, and the rest of my family would come down from New York to celebrate the holidays. And on Thanksgiving …

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STJ#1021, Lean on Me

Last night, in a text conversation with Michael Tino, we got to talking about our frustrations with some of the arrangements in Singing the Journey, in part because some of the songs come out of popular music and many members have memories of the originals (or of well-known covers). And thus, when we get to …

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STJ#1020, Woyaya

This song has been in the water for me since the late 70s, when somewhere (maybe Girl Scout camp?) I was taught the piece in the style of Art Garfunkel from his 1973 album Angel Clare. Sometime in the early 1990s, I sang a choral version that had the mark of Sweet Honey in the …

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STJ#1014, Answering the Call of Love

If you open your hymnal, you will see that the song has a different title printed. Now if you’ve been paying attention, you have also marked up this song’s title and lyrics, as per the composer’s instructions, changing “standing on the side” to the much less ableist and much more active “answering the call.” I …

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