STJ#1048, Ubi Caritas

You say the words “ubi caritas” to me and my heart sings as I think of the many experiences I have had singing those words. And if you’re lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective), you’ll hear me waxing poetic about the lush music these words are often set to. I don’t think it’s a …

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STJ#1047, Nada Te Turbe

We have just entered my favorite section of Singing the Journey: the spot where instead of spreading them out, we get a series of Taizé songs all together. It’s my favorite section, although individually they’re not all on my list of favorites – not that any of them are bad, but some are beloved more …

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STJ#1044, Eli, Eli

Happy New Year! In the words of Colonel Sherman Potter (M*A*S*H), “may it be a damn sight better than the old one.” If today’s hymn is any indication, it will be full of beautiful reminders that there is a love holding us. This haunting song, composed by David Zehavi, is based on a poem by an …

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STJ#1043, Szekely Aldas

This might be my favorite song in Singing the Journey. It’s not my favorite congregational hymn – in fact, I’ve yet to encounter a congregation that’s even tried it as a hymn. But every time I hear a duet or choir sing it – or every time I sing it with someone – I weep …

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STJ#1041, Santo

I suspect this piece doesn’t get used much in our congregations. The reason is probably that it’s in Spanish and is unfamiliar. And that’s too bad. I’d rather the reason be that we don’t often preach on Oscar Romero and liberation theology, or that we don’t often use any part of a Catholic mass in …

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STJ#1040, Hush

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” and thus begins my own story, A Tale of Two Memories. The first memory of this song is set in a hotel suite in St. Paul, MN, where the inaugural group of students in the Music Leader Credentialing program gathered to talk about …

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STJ#1039, Be Thou with Us

I’ve been wandering around the house for the better part of an hour, singing this sweet little piece by Tom Benjamin, with two questions on my mind: First, what can I possibly say about this piece I quite like, when it’s short, theologically and ethically sound, and just plain pretty? Second, and perhaps more importantly: is …

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STJ#1036, Calypso Alleluia

Happy Christmas Eve – let’s sing an Alleluia! A number of years ago, Tom Benjamin (whose work graces many pages of both hymnals) put out a collection of 62 Responses, Benedictions, Introits, and Chalice Lighting Songs, which add music to many elements we think of as spoken. Some are short, some are longer. Some are …

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STJ#1035, Freedom Is Coming

I think I first learned this song in high school, about the same time I heard about apartheid in South Africa. Yet I am pretty sure I never related the two – I know our music teachers didn’t do that, and at that age I wasn’t in a religious education program that helped me understand …

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STJ#1034, De Noche

One of the Facebook memes going around right now is about memories – namely, asking for people to post memories of you, with a fair bit of delight at the answers. If my friend and colleague Ashley DeTar Birt were to ask, I would be hard pressed to pick just one memory, as our friendship, which began the first week …

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