STLT#413, Go Now in Peace

If you are a fan of a film or tv show with highly quotable lines, you may find yourself giving the next line almost out of habit: “Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.” “To make a long story short…”    “TOO LATE!” “My father hung …

More

STLT#348, Guide My Feet

Today, gentle readers, I offer you A Tale of Two Liturgical Moments. Because indeed, as our man Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The best of times was when I learned an arrangement of this African American spiritual in my seminary gospel choir; the harmonies were …

More

STLT#305, De Colores

I am really struggling today to know what to say about this song. Partly, it’s because I didn’t look ahead enough to think about interviewing colleagues Julica Hermann DelaFuente or Marisol Caballero, both of whom might have more insight into the difficulties or joys of this Mexican folk tune appearing in our hymnal – perhaps …

More

STLT#304, A Fierce Unrest

I need the hope of possibility. I need the promise of unanswered questions. I need the assurance of unsealed revelation. Especially today, as I conclude my ministry at First Universalist Church of Southold and begin a community ministry in the arts and worship – a ministry whose form is not entirely clear but whose call …

More

STLT#211, We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Later this morning, I am leading our congregation’s Teach In on White Supremacy, joining over 600 Unitarian Universalist congregations around the country in examining the larger cultural systems that even progressive organizations like ourselves don’t realize we’re perpetuating. In this service, I am preferencing the words of people of color, letting their words inform and …

More

STLT#210, Wade in the Water

I’m feeling at a bit of a loss this morning. On one hand, this is an important code song from the Underground Railroad, a warning to follow the river and keep an eye out for the friendly folk.  As Walter Rhett at Black History 360 writes, “People think the song is about Moses and Exodus, …

More

STLT#208, Every Time I Feel the Spirit

This is one of those hymns that make you go “huh!” (And that isn’t a bad thing.) First “huh” – it’s a Pentecost song, most definitely, stuck in the Worship section. And I go “huh, is that so we’ll use it, because some music directors and ministers will flip right by that liturgical season?” Second …

More

STLT#186, Grieve Not Your Heart

I don’t know what to say about this one. It’s not that I don’t get it – I do. It’s an encapsulation of Confucianism, ending in the golden rule. It captures the nuggets of carefully measured wisdom and advice a Confucian parent doles out to their child, reminding them that the way out of chaos …

More

STLT#184, Be Ye Lamps unto Yourselves

Gentle readers, I’m in an odd place with this one. I am certain (and am glad) there are people who draw strength and inspiration from this text, a beloved  (anonymously translated) passage from “Buddha’s Farewell Address” – a passage from the Mahaparinibbana Suttana. I don’t. I mean, I get what it’s about – it’s all over …

More