STLT#400, Shalom Havareem

This morning I am grateful for Google’s proximate search capabilities. You see, I typed in the title of today’s hymn, a sweet traditional Jewish round, and it corrected me in that totally not shaming way Google has, by sending me results with ‘chaverim’ instead of the more phonetic ‘havayreem’. It also presented me with a …

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STLT#399, Vine and Fig Tree

In my last year of seminary, I and five of my most creative friends co-created and produced a Broadway revue that told the story of the book of Exodus. We began our work with Biblical preparation led by Old Testament scholar David M. Carr: not just reading and exegeting the text but also examining the …

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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#392, Hineh Mah Tov

As frequent readers know. there are many days … sometimes weeks… in this practice when the hymn is so opposed to the events/mood/weather of the day that it seems almost ridiculous. Christmas in May… morning songs after the election… happy spring in a snowstorm… Today is most assuredly NOT one of those days. Our round, …

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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#390, Gaudeamus Hodie

As the Gish gallop of terrible politics, violence, natural disasters, and a shocking lack of compassion continues to fill our news feeds, we turn now to this canon by Methodist composer Natalie Sleeth. Whose lyrics, when translated from the Latin, mean “let us be joyful today.” Joy is hard to find some days – harder …

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STLT#389, Gathered Here

Yesterday, as we closed the New York State Convention of Universalists/Hudson Mohawk Cluster gathering, my colleague Sam Trumbore called for us to sing something together. “What shall we sing?” he asked, looking at me because he knows I do this. And embarrassingly, my mind went blank. Fortunately, someone else piped up with a song (Come …

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STLT#388, Dona Nobis Pacem

I have sung this a thousand times since childhood, around the campfire, at vigils, even once at an evening memorial service. It’s as familiar as my own skin. Yet when I think of it, I don’t think of the vigil or the campfire or the memorial service. I think of M*A*S*H. In particular, the episode …

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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#385, Gloria

I feel like I should be writing something elegant and insightful and perhaps a bit humorous about Taizé , about glorias, about chants and canons. Just yesterday I spoke of how this practice has never (except around the election) felt like a chore. And truly, the practice itself – singing – has never felt that way. …

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