Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Carolyn McDade's “Spirit of Life” — both verses

Almost a year and a half ago, in my Winter Solstice article, I wrote about a recording I made of me singing Carolyn McDade's “Spirit of Life”. In order to have piano accompaniment, I found the music for this well-known UUC hymn and I was surprised to discover that it has two verses. When we sing it "every Sunday" in our Unitarian Universalist Church (in Groton), there is only ever one verse. But just having seen that there are two verses… ever since then I've wanted to reRecord the song in its full form. So finally, on this fabulous New England Spring day — with the sounds of the birds chirping and the bees buzzing in the blossoms of the weeping cherry tree in our yard — I was inspired to sing the whole song.
                          “ Spirit of Life ”

Spirit of Life, come unto me.
Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea;
move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.
                                              — Carolyn McDade

Spirit of Love, come unto me.
Deep in my soul all the mystery of creation.
Teach me to care, Peace let there be.
Lead me to truth showing forth the paths of wisdom.
Roots hold me close; wings set me free;
Spirit of Love, come to me, come to me.
None of the on-line references to this song that I could find mentions that it has a 2nd Verse. Moreover, this very interesting article describes in Carolyn McDade's own words how “Spirit of Life” came to be and therein she implies that "all the other verses" were not part of “her original prayer.” That is why I did the attribution as you see above where I nevertheless posted all the words that I found in our hymnal. And I sing both verses in my rendition of the song that you can hear by clicking on the YouTube player, above, or by following this link directly.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What's Under that Stone ?

Click here for the full size image, taken with my cell phone, of the stones shown during the Childrens story today Analogous to the Easter story about "someone" rolling away the stone that had sealed off Jesus' burial tomb, Elea's sermon, and indeed the whole UUC service today, was about the surprises we find — how our lives can be changed — by looking under a stone.

Taken literally, as was the case for the Children's story, you see the surprises that had been written under the stones for the kids to experience. And they all had great fun doing so.

Taken not so literally… to me simply means looking for things (for "answers?") in unexpected places — a perfectly appropriate thing to be doing at this Easter juncture to shake away the Winter complacency that had hijacked my otherwise industrious spirit. As such, I'm sure I'm not the only person engaging in a little introspection today… a prodding to look under my own stones, inspired by this quote from today's order of service :

A Thought as the Service Begins
quoted from :
  — Victoria Stafford       

“ All of a sudden, without warning, …
Something promised us rebirth,
the resurrection of our hoping.
The rain rained down wet and clear,
not thick and white,
and without warning,
Winter washed away
and we were free.

Spirit of life and love,
moving in every living thing, and in us,
astonish us this morning.
Startle us.
Stun us…
Shake us from our sleeping.
For we are Winter-weary and disbelieving
and our eyes have forgotten what surprises look like,
and we are ready, we are more than ready,
to open them
and be amazed.