Transmogrified

Click to listen here (as delivered in Nantucket on February 18, 2018). I first learned the word “transmogrified” from Calvin and Hobbes. You may remember the comic strip by Bill Waterston, which ran from 1985 to 1995. Calvin, aged 6, was part Christopher Robin and part Dennis the Menace, and his stuffed tiger, Hobbes, regularly …

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Px3: sorrow and frustration

As I sat down to write this morning, I discovered a funny thing – a stricter poetic form actually helped me organize and work with my thoughts. I’m not sure I like today’s poem – a commentary on yesterday’s school shooting – but I think I wrote better than I would have had this been a …

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Hymn by Hymn: Al Fine

Well, here we are. A total of 490 hymns over 484 days. Yowza. When I started this spiritual practice, I knew I could finish if I found a way to hold myself accountable. Blogging, and sharing the blog on social media, was my accountability. And wow, what an experience. First of all, I can now …

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STJ#1074, Turn the World Around

I may be wildly speculating here, but I am pretty sure there isn’t a person my age brought up in the United States that wasn’t in some way inspired by/shaped by/comforted by/taught by/entertained by the Muppets. Now this is likely also true for people not in their early 50s, but I know that we who …

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STJ#1073, The Earth Is Our Mother

Use with care, use with care, use with care. This song is listed as being generally Native American – which is likely all that the STJ commission could find at the time. A link to the source material, Songs for Earthlings, is now dead. However, I did a search for the lyrics and discovered that …

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STJ#1072, Evening Breeze

This is the last in our earth chant quodlibet (yes, since relearning the word last week, I’ve rather enjoyed saying it and typing it, especially since it’s appropriate), and it’s been an … interesting side trip. The melodies of the chants are, intentionally, rather simple, and I imagine the complexity builds as you add other chants …

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STJ#1070, Mother I Feel You

They say brevity is the source of wit; I can affirm that a stomach flu is the source of brevity. So I’ll be brief: The second part of our quodlibet is this chant by Windsong Dianne Martin. As noted on the UUA Song Information page, This song was written on Spencer’s Butte, Eugene, Oregon in …

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STJ#1069, Ancient Mother

Sometimes the universe likes to prepare you in advance for something you will need. In some cases, it’s the impulse buy that comes in handy later that month, or a song you hear that the choir director asks you to sing a week later, or in my case, it’s a conversation on Wednesday that leads to …

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STJ#1068, Rising Green

This may be one of the most elegantly crafted songs in our hymnals. I mean no offense to other composers who read this, or to those songs that are also beloved. But there is something absolutely wondrous in this composition by Carolyn McDade. On its surface, the song is another earth based song of praise …

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STJ#1067, Mother Earth, Beloved Garden

One of the things I love best about pagan ritual is the embodiment of creating sacred space. It’s not just about entering a room and calling it sacred, it’s about being present to the physicality of the room, recognizing our connection to and grounding as part of creation, and visualizing the protective and enlivening presence of …

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STJ#1066, O Brother Sun

Rejected intro paragraphs: This makes me think of Greg Greenway, Joe Jencks, and Pat Wictor – the members of the musical group Brother Sun. Except they’ve broken up now, and any memory I have of them has nothing to do with the song. It’s nice to have a song that’s good to call the directions with…except…wait… …

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STJ#1065, Alabanza

From so much to say to little to say. (Which is, of course, the nature of spiritual practice.) This is a lovely tune, by  Pablo Fernández Badillo, a Puerto Rican lay minister and federal judge who held various positions in the Puerto Rican government. Yet it is his time as a missionary that led to …

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