Sunday, December 29, 2013

January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

And, it's still Christmas! Hooray!

I'd like to suggest this album:
The Sounding Joy by Elizabeth Mitchell and guests

Every song is a beauty. 

Here's a sample:

May your days be merry and bright.


Friday, December 20, 2013

December 29, 2013

Hello all.

First Sunday after Christmas/Year A

Of course more carols! Hooray.

Dusty Collings, an amazing musician in our music corner, found this cool arrangement:

Love Come Down at Christmas
Shawn Colvin 

Christmas Day 2013

Hello everyone.

We have a light dusting of snow here in the pacific northwest this morning.
Felt like a little kid this morning as I went out in the darkness to see if it had snowed in the night.
What a great feeling.

Merry Christmas!

Here are a few more beauties:
Shawn Colvin, James Taylor (singing Joni Mitchell) and The Civil Wars.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Advent at Grace 2013

Hello everyone!

Eyes on Christmas Eve.

My bosses at Grace, Bill Harper and Eric Mason, are on a roll. Together we have crafted a liturgy for Advent that includes more space, more time for quiet reflection and simpler prayers. Less words. It feels really good. It feels like we need it too.

I posted this song a couple weeks ago for use in an Advent Sunday service. Bill Harper heard it and said let's start both Christmas Eve services with silence and stillness and then have a soloist sing this:

Be Still by The Fray

Then we'll launch into O Come All Ye Faithful. But not before we find some stillness and quiet. LOVE IT!

The rest of our Christmas service is pretty predictable and wonderful. Angels We Have Heard On High to Joy to the World, and everything else in between. REALLY good.

Angels We Have Heard could go this way:

We always end each Christmas Eve service with Happy Xmas (War is Over)

Merry Christmas everyone. May your days be merry and bright.


Friday, November 29, 2013

December 22, 2013

Hello everybody.

Advent IV.

Joni Mitchell

The Trumpet Child
Over the Rhine

Go Tell it on the Mountain
Gotta love this version!

December 15, 2013

Hello everybody.

Advent III

Continuing on the road to quiet stillness.

Be Still
The Fray

Heard this one laying on my back in savasana. Thanks Jen Breen and the Bainbridge Yoga House. A beauty. For Advent, for anytime.

December 8, 2013

Hello everyone.

Advent II


Ready for Love by India.Arie
A few lyric tweaks and this could work.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Future of Forestry

I love this band. They often include harmonium in their arrangements. We love our harmonium at Grace!

Slow Your Breath Down 
Future of Forestry

This Advent season our Grace liturgy has slowed down and opened up. Less and different words. More space for quiet and stillness. Ahhh.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

December 1, 2013 | Advent I

Hello and here we are.

Advent I Year A


After a conversation with a parishioner I'm reminded about a yearning for tradition and traditional music during Advent and Christmas. Will try to find some interesting arrangements of traditional tunes for the season.

Overall for Advent I think about the words waiting and preparing. This week the readings also refer to waking up and being ready.

Here we go.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Sufjan Stevens

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Gundersen Family

Arr. by James Beauregard
Bluesy version of the traditional hymn. Mix it up people!

Wake Me Up by Aloe Blacc and Aviici
This acoustic version with Mike Einziger accompanying on guitar is my fav.

Awake My Soul by Mumford and Sons

Wake Up by Arcade Fire

I Wanna Be Ready 
Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 24 2013 | Christ the King

Hello everyone.

Christ the King Sunday this week.

People Get Ready by Curtis Mayfied

I just saw/heard Noah Gundersen perform live, in Seattle, with his sister Abby. My word.
Please buy all their music and go see them perform when you get the chance. Truly amazing.

Jesus Jesus

Thursday, October 31, 2013

November 17, 2013


Looking at these readings:

Track 1orTrack 2
Isaiah 65:17-25
Canticle 92 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

Malachi 4:1-2a
Psalm 98
2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Luke 21:5-19

Thinking about singing out and awakening.

An old favorite with the little kids: If You Want to Sing Out by Cat Stevens.

Beautiful cover here by Kat Dennings.

Thinking about Awake My Soul by the Mumford boys. Thinking we will do this in Advent too.
Have you SEEN Mumford and Sons: The Road to Red Rocks? Netflix it--it is a good one.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

November 10, 2013

Hello everybody,

Here are the readings and a few musical ideas.
I need to mention that a first happened at our parish retreat a couple weeks ago. 
David Bowie happened. Even I did not think it would work--and of course I just need to have a little faith. Hannah, one of our brilliant high school musicians, created and sang this incredible arrangement of "Heroes" with a little U2 "One" thrown in. We even added this one to our All Saints' service. 
Not a dry eye. 

Trying to get the video...will post it soon.

David Bowie. Yes we can.

UPDATE October 31: Hannah's video here.

I think a little Mumford and Sons Roll Away Your Stone would work for this week:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

November 3, 2013 | All Saints Year C

Hello everybody,

Hello everybody.

All Saints and the first Sunday of the month at Grace. This means remembrance and kids' participation.
Every first Sunday the kids read the lessons and offer music.

The little kids will help us close the service with Angels Watchin' Over Me. I'm hoping to have a few high schoolers sing Rivers and Roads and the middle schoolers will offer Waiting on the World to Change. Good stuff.

Psalms In Ordinary Voices
Buy this book, it is a winner. So many voices! BEAUTIFUL.

Here's a small portion:
Psalm 149 by Julia Jean

Give praise to the Goddess within and without.
Sing unto our Lady a new song
     for we shall praise Her with our very presence.
Let the Universe rejoice in Her creations.
Let Her children be joyful...

Here's a link to last year's post--lots of ideas here--please take a look.

Here are some new ideas for this year:

Rivers and Roads by Head and the Heart

Crossing the Bar Rani Arbo/Tennyson
Salamander Crossing is the band. LOVE!

We're Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 27, 2013

Hello everybody,

Today is a miracle. A sunny day in October in the Puget Sound region. Truly, a miracle. Gonna make this quick and GET out in that sun.

I must admit I have a tough time with the word sin. One of the church words that I get stuck on. My overall philosophy does not jive with the idea that we are all inherently broken. That's just me.

Sin and humility this week.

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, `God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, `God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted."

All My Favorite People are Broken by Over the Rhine

Sinner's Prayer
All I can say is amen. 

Sinner Man by Nina Simone
Great cover here that makes it sound doable!

by Norah Jones

Maybe a few lyric changes...this one is awesome.

October 20, 2013

Hello everybody,

Fall is settling in here in the pacific northwest. Misty mornings and leaves falling. Transition and change are inevitably, and why does it always seem like a surprise? Hmmmm.

Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 121
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Luke 18:1-8

Jacob wrestling, evangelism and prayer.


Found this beauty--The Wrestler by Bruce Springsteen. Kind of perfect.

I was checking out Natalie Sims AMAZING site (as I often do and have done for years) and she suggested Simple Song by Leonard Bernstein in conjunction with Psalm 122. Here's a very sweet version:

Where Could I Go But to the Lord 

My Sweet Lord by George Harrison. One of my top ten favorite songs of all time.

From This Valley by The Civil Wars
We are doing this song for All Saints' Sunday, but it would work great today too.

I Say a Little Prayer for You--I DREAM about doing this one in church. ;)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 13, 2013

Hello everybody,

Here are the readings for October 13th.

Being washed and made clean, gratitude and being healed.

Thanking you for hearing me by Sinead O'Connor.
We do this more as a chant--quietly, building a bit maybe the last one a capella

Hearing, saving, loving, healing, seeing--simplifying and skipping the other verses.

Some history about the song here

SO FUN--although the rhythm is TRICKY...must work on this one to really GET it! Needs a good strong leader.

Gosh, when the CHOIR/BACKUP SINGERS come in it just gives me shivers.

I listened to this 45 on my stereo ;) as a kid. One of my all time favorites.

Looking ahead to ALL SAINTS:

Friday, September 27, 2013

October 6, 2013 | St. Francis

Hello everybody,

We are celebrating St. Francis this day.

All Creatures arranged by David Crowder
We do this one as a solo, slower and more rubato.

With My Own Two Hands by Jack Johnson
The kids will sing this one.

September 29, 2013


Yikes. this fall has been something...I can't get my groove on.

As for this post...better late than never...?

Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Psalm 146
1 Timothy 6:6-19
Luke 16:19-31   

Our preacher this week is speaking to extremes--seeing things as black or white.

Resurrection, contentment and praise themes in the readings.

Also, we have an ongoing theme this year at Grace. "What's Your Story?" This theme has created an opportunity for our musicians to tell their story in a song or with music. Very cool.

Be Ok by Ingrid Michaelson.

Brave by Sara Bareilles
This is a great song. The lyrics are meaningful, perhaps not the best for the readings today but our preaching is linking with social justice/civil rights issues that make it pertinent for us. I'm thinking let the kids loose with this one and see how they would arrange/orchestrate it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 22, 2013


Track 1orTrack 2
Jeremiah 8:18-9:1
Psalm 79:1-9
1 Timothy 2:1-7
Luke 16:1-13

Amos 8:4-7Psalm 1131 Timothy 2:1-7Luke 16:1-13

Seems like a traditional hymn kind of week.
Here are some different arrangements and sweet performances. 

Balm in Gilead always gets my attention. This version by Tori Amos is not like anything you've heard before!

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms sung by Iris Dement

I Love to Tell the Story
Our theme this year at Grace is "What's Your Story?" This is perfect.

Bright Morning Stars by The Wailin' Jennys

Come Thou Fount
The Mumford version!

Just a Closer Walk
Avett Bros.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 15, 2013

Hello all,

Lost. Found. 

The readings this week remind me of a couple Rilke poems, from The Book of Hours, translation Barrows and Macy.

from On the Edge of Night

"And what has lost its way
will, by my vibrant sounds,
be at last brought home
and allowed to fall endlessly
into the depthless source."

I Have Hymns is one of my favorites. Several years ago I wrote a Rilke song cycle.
Here's my take, sung by Barbara Hume off her album Island in the Sound

On a personal note our priest Bill goes in for cancer related surgery early next week. Our hearts and minds are full with prayers for him and a bit of worry too. Of course, I can't help thinking about music that will soothe his heart and mind, and ours too!

In thinking about healing I remembered two great albums (does anyone still say album?) this week.

The first a tribute album to John Denver. Love him. Still

Sunshine on My Shoulders. If I had a wish...
Train's version here.

Dave Matthew's version of Take Me to Tomorrow is really something too.

The other album is Sweet Relief III.

A cohort in musical crime at Grace, the Rev. Jim Friedrich, re-wrote the last verse to If I Needed You, a spectacular song by Townes Van Zandt. Covered by Joseph Arthur (go see him live!) on the album. 

Here's a pretty version by The Sweet By & By.

Emmylou Harris made it a hit:

When the shadow falls

And the way is steep
I will fear no ill
        G           C
When grace is near

I shall not want

She will guide me home
She restores my soul
        G          C
May her praise be told
[Repeat last 2 lines twice more]

__Jim Friedrich

Don't Let Us Get Sick by Warren Zevon covered by Jackson Browne.

"Don't let us get sick
Don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid alright.
Just make us be brave..."

Friday, August 23, 2013

September 8, 2013

Hello everybody!

Looking forward to what we call "Homecoming Weekend" at Grace.
Coming home indeed. After a couple months of beautiful summer goodness we come back home to our autumn routine and a bit wistfully start the letting go of summer.

Here are some of the homecoming songs we will sing this year.

I Am Walking a Path of Peace by Jan Tissandier

Come Home to Me by The Gloria Darlings

This Must Be the Place
 The lyrics were written by David Byrne, and the music was written by Byrne and Chris FrantzTina Weymouth and Jerry Harrison.
Can't wait for this one! Two sisters will sing and play this one as the gathering song.

Home by Phillip Phillips

By Josiah Johnson and Jonathan Russell

Saturday, August 10, 2013

September 1, 2013

Hello everybody!

Thinking about friendship--giving to others--being of service.

Track 1orTrack 2
Jeremiah 2:4-13
Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
Luke 14:1, 7-14

Sirach 10:12-18or
Proverbs 25:6-7Psalm 112Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16Luke 14:1, 7-14

I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz

You've Got a Friend by Carole King

Sigh No More by Marcus Mumford

I've posted all these before if you need video/audio examples please search the site.

Lean On Me by Bill Withers

I'll Stand By You by Chrissie Hynde

Stand By Me by Ben E. King

With a Little Help From My Friends by Lennon and McCartney

With My Own Two Hands by Jack Johnson

Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant

What a Wonderful World by Bob Thiele (as "George Douglas") and George David Weiss.

and a bonus--this song really says it all, but not sure we could pull it off. :)

We Are Family by Bernard EdwardsNile Rodgers
Sister Sledge!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 25, 2013

Hello everybody.

Track 1or Track 2

Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-18
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Luke 12:49-56

Jeremiah 23:23-29
Psalm 82
Hebrews 11:29-12:2
Luke 12:49-56

I love the healing stories.

Come Healing by Leonard Cohen

Heal Over by KT Tunstall

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Paul Simon

August 18, 2013

Hello everybody.

To be honest--yikes! No more words needed from me.

I Shall Be Released by Bob Dylan
Just watched another documentary about The Band and was really moved. What was it about these guys?

I Hope by the Dixie Chicks (with Keb' 'Mo)
We did this one on August 4th. A soloist led with EVERYBODY singing the "I hope." Really good.
Seems appropriate for today too.

Save Us All by Tracy Chapman

Samson by Regina Spektor
Well, this song probably wouldn't work for Sunday morning but I saw Samson mentioned somewhere and had to include it! I love it.

Dream by Priscilla Ahn