A Western Zen priest’s Random Collection of Twenty Favorite Songs of Longing, Loss, Hope, and Finding…
I am a Boomer, so, of course the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius
But of songs from that era, it’s probably George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord that most captures the moment and my heart
I recall going to my first settlement as a Unitarian Universalist minister, attending a lay led service at a largely humanist congregation. They were enthralled with Amazing Grace and argued its merits with considerable passion.
And in the Blind Boys of Alabama’s version
The Rivers of Babylon by the Melodians
William Blake’s Jerusalem
Joan Obsboren, What if God Was One of Us
Alison Krauss’s version of Down by the River
Johhny Cash Ring of Fire
One of my most favorite Christian hymns is Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence from the Liturgy of St James
Krishna Das giving us Bernie’s ChalisaSting’s Gabriel’s Message
Beastie Boys making a Bodhisattva’s vow
There is a small but growing collection of Western folk songs on Buddhist themes. This one, Our Hero, boy Alan Senauke is a good example
Peter, Paul, and Mary Light One Candle
Peter Mayer’s Holy Now
Of course one of the most compelling for me is Leonard Cohen’s Halllelujah, which has been covered over three hundred times, and has been called the “baseline of secular hymns.” Many have their favorite versions, but for me, sung by the aging master himself.
And, while this could just be a Leonard Cohen collection, just adding in one more, I have to admit I’m even more deeply moved by Leonard Cohen’s Anthem…
Maybe my most favorite of these “spiritual songs” would be the Ode to Joy.
If there were ever one piece of art that justified the whole arc of our human existence, possibly this is it…
That said, a small coda with that the Venerable Heng Sure giving us a dedication…