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… Continue reading
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…… Continue reading
STJ#1064, Blue Boat Home
FREEBIRD! Let me explain (updated 1/22/2018): at General Assembly in Louisville in 2013, despite terrible cell reception, many attendees endeavored to live tweet the events as they unfolded. On Friday morning, we sang Blue Boat Home. Friend and colleague Hannah Roberts made a comment to her friend Meredith Lukow, who tweeted: … because like “Freebird” by… Continue reading
STJ#1062, All Around the Child
So… I have thoughts. In no particular order: Jim Scott does like a long verse, doesn’t he? (No judgment, really, just noticing that his song make for long hymns.) It took three phrases to become a Jim Scott song, because he has a signature style – and then it’s very much a Jim Scott composition.… Continue reading
STJ#1059, May Your Life Be As Song
For a long time I loved this one. I thought it was a great creative, artsy way to think about our lives. But when you sit down and really think about it – the initial metaphor, the remaining lyrics – yeah, not so much. Here are Jim Scott’s lyrics – the chorus of a longer song… Continue reading
STJ#1058 Be Ours a Religion
I want to start with a word of gratitude for the STJ hymnal commission, who thought to include some short responses in this slim volume. It would have been easy to only include bigger songs and hymns, but they knew (probably because most of them were music directors themselves) that we needed fresh music to… Continue reading
STJ#1027, Cuando el Pobre
One of my favorite December Sundays is the one a minister designates as “Mitten Tree Sunday.” For those who haven’t experienced this wonderful service, it begins with a Christmas tree on the chancel, empty but for some lights. Often, the Candace Christiansen story that inspired the service is told, other times different stories about giving… Continue reading
This song has been in the water for me since the late 70s, when somewhere (maybe Girl Scout camp?) I was taught the piece in the style of Art Garfunkel from his 1973 album Angel Clare. Sometime in the early 1990s, I sang a choral version that had the mark of Sweet Honey in the… Continue reading
STJ#1019, Everything Possible
Things I wonder: Do some congregations sing this together fairly regularly? Do some music directors and ministers flip past it because it is somewhat complex if you don’t know it already? Do others flip past it because in 13 years we’ve learned that binary language is too restrictive? Does composer and colleague Fred Small have… Continue reading
STJ#1012, When I am Frightened
Back in the 1980s, there was a series of commercials produced by the group Partnership for a Drug-Free America that became memes before memes were a thing; perhaps most famous is the “this is your brain on drugs” one, featuring an egg in a hot frying pan. But in second place is the one featuring a man… Continue reading
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