Archive for November 2017

Last verses: So be it -- "The Day Thou Gavest"

Last verses: So be it -- "The Day Thou Gavest"
For several years, when I worked on Sundays, I attended a Vespers (evening) service at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago after work. There was something deep about times I’d say I was going home, whether I didn’t have the time to remember it was Sunday or just didn’t think of it, but then remembered and... Read more »

Last verses: Sorrow forgot -- "Be Still, My Soul"

Last verses: Sorrow forgot -- "Be Still, My Soul"
(Author’s note: This is part two of a series on last verses of hymns and carols, which began with this post on “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”) The hymn tune “Be Still, My Soul” first came to my attention in the high school orchestra, back in 19-forget-it, long before I knew it had any words.... Read more »

Oh-ho, the mistletoe -- this year?

Oh-ho, the mistletoe -- this year?
With decorating season upon us, even for those who wait until after Thanksgiving, the present climate of uncertain social rules has a new ingredient: mistletoe. The old custom of hanging mistletoe at Christmastime and being able to kiss someone who’s under it may leave many people cold after an autumn of allegations and confessions and... Read more »
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Last verses -- Ever singing: 'Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee'

Last verses -- Ever singing: 'Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee'
This idea began during a service at my home church, Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago. The first hymn on Sunday was “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” Henry Van Dyke’s 1907 setting of English words to the finale of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth (or “Choral”) Symphony. (It’s often referred to as “Ode to Joy,” after the... Read more »

Announcing a new series: Last verses

Announcing a new series: Last verses
The last six weeks of the year tend to be crowded with music. But how often do you take the time to listen to the words? In that time, how often do you notice the last verses of songs, hymns or carols? In a series from today until January, I’ll present some powerful last verses... Read more »

Gift a memory? No -- and I won't give a remember, either!

Gift a memory? No -- and I won't give a remember, either!
My local drugstore has a bunch of stands in its cosmetics-aisle windows which, when I saw them on a recent Friday evening, made me want to head for the pain-relief aisle instead. “Gift a memory,” the signs on the stands are labeled. That makes as little sense as “give a remember” — so why not... Read more »
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Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?

Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?
My job, just a few months old, starts so early that I’m getting accustomed to not just being outside, but being near my office building “by the dawn’s early light,” as our national anthem puts it. I’ve been enjoying the sight of a flag flying over a low building as I walked toward work. But... Read more »

'The Last Lion: Visions of Glory' -- on reading part one of Churchill's biography last

'The Last Lion: Visions of Glory' -- on reading part one of Churchill's biography last
My “summer with Winston Churchill,” reading “The Last Lion: Alone” by William Manchester and “The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm” by Manchester and Paul Reid, has turned into my autumn with Winston. I’ve been reading the first of the three parts, Manchester’s “The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932.” I needn’t... Read more »