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. I don’t have a ministerial responsibility there, but I do have responsibility as a neighbor.

And then comes along this song – which I sang with the amazing Lynn Gardner and Wendy Bartel last night – a prayer of deepening that, along with these friends, holds me in loving arms.

Voice still and small, deep inside all,
I hear you call, singing.
In storm and rain, sorrow and pain,
still we’ll remain singing.
Calming my  fears, quenching my tears,
through all the years, singing.

Our hymn was written by John Corrado, who was our lyricist way back in the first week. I should note that the original lyric used the phrase “in dark and rain”; our hymnal commission wisely changed it to “in storm and rain” – which I think works better anyway.

This hymn speaks deeply to me right now, as I process the news from a distance. I don’t have a ministerial responsibility, but I do have responsibility as a neighbor. It’s hard, but a song like this, which holds complexity so beautifully, offers solace and comfort.

Grateful for this place, grateful for this space, grateful for these friends and colleagues, grateful for this song.

10 responses to “STLT#391, Voice Still and Small”

  1. We used to sing this in our evening “Singing Vespers” circle. We usually brought it to a close by humming it once or twice. Beautiful and touching — a song with surprising depth.

  2. This was a lovely song I first heard a few years ago, but it felt incomplete to me. I added these lyrics for whenever I ‘listen to the song in my head:

    Voice of my heart
    Love to impart
    When did you start – singing?
    When I was scared –
    Lost in despair –
    I heard you there – singing
    Soft as a prayer
    Aching to share
    Filling the air – singing

    Voice of my soul –
    Making me whole –
    Promises told – singing
    Gentle and deep
    Softly like sleep
    Ever you keep – singing
    And in the end –
    There like a friend
    We will transcend – singing

    1. Beautiful additional lyrics, Brock. Wondering if you’d grant permission to use them with my choir? I’m conductor of a 60 voice group at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in MN. If yes, we’d credit your name for additional verses. Thanks.

      1. Permission freely given, if any is needed, to anyone who would want to sing these lyrics.

  3. Matthew Johnson Avatar
    Matthew Johnson

    I had an email exchange with John just now and he feels strongly that it should be the original words — “dark and rain” — which is how it is in new editions of the hymnal. FYI.

    1. Oh interesting – I wonder what happened that it got changed back. Thanks for the note.

      1. My understanding was that the commission changed the words without his permission, and he insisted that his words be restored in the second edition.

  4. Also, according to an e-mail exchange I had with John Corrado back in 2014, the word “we’ll” should be “you”. This changes EVERYTHING.

  5. Do we have John Corrado’s permission to use the additional verses? They are poignant and fit so well the spirit of the song.

  6. Late to the party . . . but I have had conversation with John Corrado about this song too. I want to note that along with what Matthew said about John’s desire to have us retain the lyrics “dark and rain” . . . he also wanted us to retain his original “still YOU remain, singing”. . . . It got changed to “still we’ll remain”, and he thought the meaning was truly changed with that.

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