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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STJ#1013, Open My Heart

Hmm.  Welcome to another edition of “I want to like this one.” I hate when I get to these moments in this practice; I often wonder if I’m being too critical, or too obtuse, or too…something. But this prayerful round, written by UU composer Henry Flurry, feels like a camel – a horse built by …

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STJ#1012, When I am Frightened

Back in the 1980s, there was a series of commercials produced by the group Partnership for a Drug-Free America that became memes before memes were a thing; perhaps most famous is the “this is your brain on drugs” one, featuring an egg in a hot frying pan. But in second place is the one featuring a man …

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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#1004, Busca el Amor

There’s a terrible film from 1999 called The 13th Warrior featuring Antonio Banderas playing a 10th century Arab ambassador to northern Europe; he somehow finds himself included in a group of Vikings setting out to deal with a threat in a distant Viking land.  At the start of this quest, Banderas understands no Norse and …

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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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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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