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#1054, Let This Be a House of Peace
There’s a thing that’s been happening in our congregations that is reflective of what’s been happening in our society: anxiety. Anxiety about the current administration – its real and sustained attacks on our principles and the real and sustained traumas we are experiencing – spill over from our personal lives into our houses of worship.… Continue reading
STJ#1051, We Are…
More than once during my years at Union Theological Seminary, I said to myself “what is my life even like?” because of some improbable experience or another. To be clear, I didn’t choose to go to Union because of the possibility of meeting important or famous people;- I went because of the possibilities awaiting me… Continue reading
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… Continue reading
STLT#387, The Earth, Water, Fire, Air
This is not the chant I thought I knew. And thank all that’s holy that no one else was around, because I was blissfully singing the chant I know (very similar, but not exact – the version I know includes a verse of “ai-aaaa, ai-oooo”) and did a cartoon screech to a halt when I looked at… Continue reading
STLT#368, Now Let Us Sing
It’s 24 hours since nearly five dozen people died and nearly 600 were wounded by a single gunman wreaking terror in Las Vegas. And I still don’t have words, only the heaviness in my heart that is both sad and outraged. That is, I suppose, why the Universe keeps doing this: putting cheerful, aspirational, hopeful songs… Continue reading
STLT#360, Here We Have Gathered
Now this is an entrance song. Welcoming in all kinds of ways, with nothing for us to …wait…nothing for us to be upset… oh … Dammit. It’s not as good as I’d hoped. “We of all ages, women, children, men, infants and sages, sharing what we can” reads the second verse. It uses binary language for gender.… Continue reading
STLT#359, When We Are Gathered
When it comes to film, there are genres and directors I am a fan of, those I dislike, and those I appreciate. For purposes of today’s post, I will say that I dislike horror and appreciate the director Robert Rodriguez – especially his masterful work on Sin City. Now, if you ever saw his film From Dusk… Continue reading
STLT#349, We Gather Together
On December 9th, this tune first appeared, and I suggested that “later in the hymnal, we sing the usual words.” Well, that ‘later’ is today, and while the first three words are the same as the usual words, that is where ‘usual’ ends. And so I stand here in my wrongness being wrong. And thank… Continue reading
STLT#347, Gather the Spirit
This hymn almost got ruined for me in 2009. That spring, Saratoga Springs’ minister, Linda Hoddy, went on sabbatical, leaving a congregation well prepared to hold the fort down. As chair of the worship committee, I was also on the sabbatical team, and after a fall spent ensuring we had all our ducks in a… Continue reading
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