Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

28 June 2006

"May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You"

I sang this song over and over today, trying to clear my throat of gunk left over from my cold. It did seem that I was trying to accomplish something else, as well, perhaps some sort of 'look at me singing the God song and not getting struck by lightning', maybe. So far, so good. I'm still working on what feel like such very basic singing tricks and techniques, I wonder if I'll ever get past that.

The other day I was talking about my childhood church-going. I was raised in the Catholic Church, confirmed at thirteen, and then things went downhill from there. I felt a connection to God, but there didn't seem to be anywhere to hang anything mystical feeling, without becoming a nun. And outside of a convent the real study of Catholicism seemed to be discouraged. It would be many years before I knew anything about Judaism, but I was immediately envious of any religion which encouraged the asking of questions.

I grew in my understanding of myself as a woman, and as someone deeply concerned about the environment. I found the Earth itself to be sacred, without the need for text or creed or even organized thought about it; all that was necessary was to witness and know. When I discovered that I was not alone in these feelings, that there were others that felt that women, trees, and sex were all sacred, it was like a homecoming, and I never went back.

I had continued to go to mass through my first year of college, and for years afterwards I would go on the weekends I was home, later very consciously as a gift to my mother. I loved singing the songs long after everything else felt hypocritical. I knew that it was time to stop when my boredom grew to a level where my constant desire was to crack jokes during the prayers, or make rude comments. But I will never forget the words to all those prayers, and the choreography of when to sit, stand, and kneel. There is a strange comfort to that.

Now, the incense and the archangels act as a bridge between my childhood enforced faith and my adult choice of faith, and this feels meet and good.


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