STLT#315, This Old World

Am I the only one who sees the first line of this song and thinks of “Man of Constant Sorrow” from O Brother, Where Are Thou? Really? It’s just me? Can’t be. Anyway…  this is another one I have never sung, and likely never would have chosen because it’s got a title “This Old World” and is …

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STLT#69, Give Thanks

I looked at the title and started singing the hymn before I’d even gotten to the page. I knew this was another one of those wonderful Southern Harmony tunes, and I relished in it as I flipped open the hymnal. “What more can I say about Southern Harmony?” I said to myself. “I don’t want …

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STLT#68, Come, Ye Thankful People

I’ve been watching the series The Crown on Netflix – it’s the story of the first few years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, told in that predictably sweeping BBC style that endears to us such shows as Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. It’s full of beautiful scenery, palace intrigue (literally in this …

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STLT#67, We Sing Now Together

Hey, look! We’ve entered the “Harvest and Thanksgiving” section of the hymnal. And we start right off with the usual Thanksgiving song. C.J.: There’s a usual song? DONNA: “We Gather Together.” C.J.: The song. DONNA: That’s the usual song. C.J.: So you know it? DONNA: Everybody knows it. C.J.: I don’t know it. DONNA: [sighs] …

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STLT#66, When the Summer Sun Is Shining

What is it about the Southern Harmony tunes? There’s something that just gets me about them – they get inside me and speak deeply to my soul. In a recent episode of Krista Tippett’s On Being with Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, two amazing banjo players and musicians, Washburn talks about hearing Doc Watson for the …

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STLT#65, The Sweet June Days

Another season, another praise for the season song. Color me surprised. Now don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bad thing. Hymns like this are wonderful openings for seasonal services, especially those that celebrate our seventh principle. And the tune is delightful and lively – this is a perfect opening hymn for the first …

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STLT#61, Lo, the Earth Awakes Again

And with one turn of a page, we enter the sublimely ridiculous. Yes, it’s time, in these last days of autumn, as the nights grow dark and cold, to begin singing our Spring and Summer songs. Because if spiritual practice teaches us anything, it’s to expect bizarre coincidences and juxtapositions. Plus, this is what I …

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STLT#58, Ring Out, Wild Bells

I love being surprised by a hymn. I opened the page and groaned a little at yet another hymn I don’t know – wild bells? Clouds? Frosty light? Oy vei. Here we go again, I thought. Another fairly fluffy lyric that doesn’t go anywhere. And oh, look, another tune I have never sung. I decided …

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STLT#54, Now Light Is Less

Two new rules today, because the thing that makes UUs go “huh” should be the theology: Hymns should avoid using lyrics that have an ABBA rhyme scheme. Hymns should never end in words most people have to look up. Just look at these lyrics as a poem, which is how they started. Not bad, really. …

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