A Western Zen priest’s Random Collection of Favorite Songs of Longing, Loss, Hope, and Finding…

A Western Zen priest’s Random Collection of Favorite Songs of Longing, Loss, Hope, and Finding… January 14, 2019

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 Chalisa

Sting’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…

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