Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Hymns Old and New -- Spirit of Life
For about 10 years, I was a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg. The UU religion (for lack of a better term) is a non-Christian, non-creedal liberal humanist movement. It is a spiritual home for theists, agnostics and atheists alike. Lesbian pagans are welcome and fit right in! I enjoyed my time with the UUs and have nothing but respect for them. My UU experience was an important, even crucial, part of my spiritual development.
Anyway, like many church-goers, UUs love to sing. One of their favourite contemporary hymnists is the spiritual feminist songwriter and social activist Carolyn McDade. Her most famous modern hymn is probably "Spirit of Life." With its beautiful melody, secular lyrics and emphasis on compassion and justice, you can see why it's so popular with many liberal religions of whatever stripe, including Christian ones.
In 1997, Carolyn McDade came to Manitoba and held a weekend choral workshop at a First Nations ministerial training centre north of Winnipeg. My girlfriend at the time absolutely adored all things Carolyn McDade and so we attended. Once we got there, the First Nations staff offered to hold a sweat lodge for us on the Saturday night. I figured "Sure, why not participate? Might be interesting." Little did I know what to expect!
Next post: My Sweat Lodge Experience