Category Archives: Lent

Good Friday

The Cross – The Blind Boys of Alabama
No. 23 – Air “He was despised” – Sutherland/Bumbry/Mckellar/Ward/Sir Adrian Boult
What a Friend We Have i Jesus – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
I’ve Been Buked and I’ve Been Scorned – The Florida A&M University Concert Choir
Were You There – Mavis Staples
St. Mark Passion: Hymn “The Heavenly Word proceeding forth” – Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Daniel Hyde & Donal McCann
No. 24 – Chorus “Surely he hath borne our griefs” – Sutherland/Bumbry/Mckellar/Ward/Sir Adrian Boult
No. 26 – Chorus “All we like sheep” – Sutherland/Bumbry/Mckellar/Ward/Sir Adrian Boult
Behold the Lamb of God – Yellowjackets
Balm in Gilead – Sweet Honey in the Rock
No. 25 – Chorus “And with his stripes” – Sutherland/Bumbry/Mckellar/Ward/Sir Adrian Boult
Come By Here (Kumbaya) – Willie Peacock
What Wondrous Love – First-Plymouth Congregational Church, Tom Trenney & Jeremy Bankson
Were You There When They Crucified My Lord? – Harry Belafonte


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15 April 2022

Walking. Catoctin Mountain Park. Sutton Flatwoods.
Taxman – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Can’t Help Falling in Love – Kina Grannis
I See a Darkness – Johnny Cash
Rustic Dance – John McCutcheon
Frankie and Albert – Lead Belly
Burn All the Letters – Indigo Girls
My Lament – Sweet Honey in the Rock
Keep on Singing – The Sands Family
Bathian Bujaaya Rakh – Shazia Mansour
SerpentineFire/Saturday Nite/Can’t Hide Love/Reasons – Earth, Wind & Fire
That Girl Could Sing – Jackson Browne
Tomorrow Is My Turn – Rhiannon Giddens
Lullaby – The Chicks
The Road to El Dorado – Eric Bogle

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Maundy Thursday

Come Thou Fount – Everlasting Word Band
Calling All the Children Home – John McCutcheon
Let Us Break Bread Together – Kim & Reggie Harris
In the Upper Room – Mahalia Jackson
Be Still and Know – Little Windows
A Place at the Table – Jim & Jean Strathdee
Bread of Life – Rory Cooney, Gary Daigle & Theresa Donohoo
Eat This Bread – Jacques Berthier
I Am the Bread of Life – Suzanne Toolan
Washer of Feet – Liturgical Folk
Chant for Holy Week / Maundy Thursday: Communion – Barbara Katherine Jones, Schola Antiqua & John Blackley
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 15 Recit.: He Said, “Go Ye Into the City” – Leonard Bernstein, Collegiate Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Boys’ Choir of The Church of The Transfiguration, David Lloyd & William Wildermann
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Chorus: Lord, Is It I? – Leonard Bernstein, Collegiate Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Boys’ Choir of The Church of The Transfiguration, David Lloyd & William Wildermann
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 16 Chorale: Tis I Who Should Be Sharing – Leonard Bernstein, Collegiate Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Boys’ Choir of The Church of The Transfiguration, David Lloyd & William Wildermann
St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244: No. 17 Recit.: He Answered Them, and Said – Leonard Bernstein, Collegiate Chorale, New York Philharmonic, Boys’ Choir of The Church of The Transfiguration, David Lloyd & William Wildermann
Break Bread Together – Mary D. Williams
Crowded Table – The Highwomen

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10 April 2022 II – Palm Sunday

Walking. North East Maryland.
The Feast of Palms – Princeton Seminary Choir
Lift Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates – Commissioned & The Clark Sisters
No. 33 – Chorus “lift up your heads” – Sutherland/Bumbry/Mckellar/Ward/Sir Adrian Boult
Hosanna – Kirk Franklin
Klokhon / Hosanna Palm Sunday Hymn / تراتيل كلدانية – Christian Hymns Chaldean Assyrian Syriac Aramaic
Woke up This Morning – Mary D. Williams
What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Mahalia Jackson
Be Thou My Vision – Little Windows
Holy, Holy, Holy – Jim & Jean Strathdee
Peace Train/Isitimela Sokuthula – Dolly Parton, feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo
He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands – Mavis Staples
Glory to God – The Boys Choir of Harlem, Leaders of the New School & Michelle Weeks

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10 April 2022

Stretching. Walking. North East Maryland.
You Ain’t Gonna Lie – Kendrick Lamar
Third Stone from the Sun – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
We Belong – namoli brennet
Battle of George Square – The Wakes
True Colors – Cyndi Lauper
Jungleland – Bruce Springsteen
Whiskey in the Jar – Luke Kelly
Summer Is A-Coming – John McCutcheon
Cut It Out – Indigo Girls
Calinda – Clifton Chenier
Peregrino De Tu Cielo – Alejo Garcia
But, Mr. Adams – 1776
Short and Sweet – Brittany Howard
Before Easter – Tracy Chapman

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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, 2020
Eco-Palms; Palestinian Cross
New York, New York

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Tonight We Remember

An Ash Wednesday sermon – February 17, 2021
preached at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens

Beloved people of God,
every year at Easter
we celebrate the new possibilities
God provides through the life, the death,
and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
During Lent, we prepare for this celebration
and the renewal it brings to our lives.

For many years we have begun
Our Lenten journey with ashes,
often made by burning the palms from the year before.
Mixed with a little oil,
the ashes are traced on our foreheads
in the sign of a cross.

This year we physically distance
while we spiritually gather one Christ,
I, as the pastor, will not impose ashes.
If you have received ashes
in the congregation’s Lenten worship bag or
if you have gathered “loose dust” from in or around your home,
and you would like to use the dust or ash
to make the sign of the cross  
on your head or hand,
we will pause to allow you to do that.
We will take a minute of silence,
which my friend the Rev. Dr. Claudio Carvalhaes reminds us
is an eternity of silence for Presbyterians.
You may also decide to impose the sign of the cross
later in the service – when the sermon gets boring, for example.

Whether we impose the sign of the cross or not,
dust and ashes will play a role in our service.
I invite you to take the ashes you received
or the loose dust you have gathered.
If you have neither, image ashes and dust you have seen.
Look at them.
Consider them.
Think about one of their functions
in Ash Wednesday services.

Ashes, loose dust
jog our memories.
They help us remember what is;
they help us remember what will be.

Tonight we remember.

We remember our mortality.
From dust God makes us.
In the marvelous words of James Weldon Johnson:
Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
God kneeled down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth;
This Great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till God shaped it in God’s own image;
Then into it God blew the breath of life,
And the human became a living soul.

We come from dust.
To dust we will return.
We are mortal. Limited. Finite.
One day our time on earth will end
our race will finish,
our part in God’s great story will close,
the final curtain will fall

and God will welcome us.

Tonight we remember.
We remember our need for repentance.
We remember how we fall short.
How we hurt one another.
How we tolerate social injustice.
How we wound God’s good creation.
How by our actions
and by our failures to act,
we break the heart of God.
We remember our need to turn and follow Jesus Christ
more faithfully this and every day.

Tonight we remember.
We remember those who have gone before us.
We remember people we knew and loved fiercely.
We remember people we never met but whose stories we have learned.
We remember people whose stories have never been told.
In this age of COVID-19, we remember countless people,
who have died from this pandemic.
We remember people killed by the state and racism.
People whose God-given breath was taken from them.
Whether we remember names or not,
we remember each person was and is a beloved child of God,

Tonight we remember.
the unending mercy of God,
the unbreakable grace of God,
the unflagging patience of God.
We remember the incredible love of God
who refuses to give up on us,
and who persistently awaits our return
eager to pour the Holy Spirit afresh upon us
that we might make a fresh start.

Tonight we remember.
that Lent is a time to give up.
Perhaps, like my friend the Rev. Gradye Parsons,
we make a supreme spiritual sacrifice
and give up kale.
More realistically, we seek to give up
that which truly separates and distracts us from God.

Tonight we remember.
that Lent is a time to stand up.
A time to
remove all yokes of injustice,
disrupt prejudice and systems of oppression,
feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
visit the sick and the imprisoned
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted.
A time to:
raise the foundations of many generations
repair breaches
restore the streets.
Following Jesus, we stand up in Lent.
We stand up to love.

Tonight, my friend the Rev. Shawna Bowman reminds me,
that as we begin the Lenten journey
of repenting and turning back to God
of prayer and fasting
of commemorating Jesus’ journey to death – and beyond,
we remember.
We “are all made from the same dust
That busted forth at the birthplace of creation,
And [we] belong, In life and in death,
to the one who calls [us] beloved.
[We] belong to God.”
And whatever challenges life brings
and however we may fall short,
God, who raises Jesus from the dead,
will have the final word.
And God’s word will be a word of
love and
life and
hope and

Tonight we remember.
Thanks be to God.

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So, dusty

Friends –
we are dust.
But do you not know
have you not seen
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
All of creation
every blessed creature,
every amazing facet,
every wonderful human being
you and me and all of us,
made from dust by God.
Made from dust and beloved of God.
So Dusty, if I may call us each that.
Go Dusty,
go and live.
Go and love kindness.
Go and do justice.
Go and walk this Lenten journey humbly with God.
Know, Dusty, that
the love of God
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the peace and fellowship of the Holy Spirit
are with us now and forever.
17 February 2021
inspired by a blessing from Jan Richardson

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Are you from Pittsburgh?

Looking at Pittsburgh with Mr. Rogers.
“Excuse me. Are you from Pittsburgh?” the woman spoke gently.
“Lenore is,” Charles replied.
“We heard you talking about Pittsburgh,” the woman said, gesturing to the radiant, bald, younger woman with whom she shared the table.
Of course they heard us. It’s New York. Restaurants put tables pretty much on top of one another.
Lenore had come from Pittsburgh to New York. She arranged to meet Charles and me to talk about the Presbyterian Church’s Freedom Rising Initiative to address the impact of racism on African-American men.
We met at the TGI Friday’s in Penn Station. Charles’ son is playing in one of the New Jersey state basketball championship semifinal games tonight. This location made it easy for him to join us and then to get home for the game.
We talked about the work being done by the Presbytery of Pittsburgh and by the Presbytery of New York City. We explored how the presbyteries might support one another and partner for effective ministry.
Our conversation touched on the city of Pittsburgh. Lenore lived there almost all her life; Charles had recently been there for a meeting; part of my childhood was spent on Neville Island.
After a fruitful conversation, and when we finished our meal, Charles stood to leave for his son’s basketball game. That’s when the woman stood, took the half step needed to cross the aisle in the restaurant and spoke.
“My daughter Erin goes to school outside Pittsburgh,” she informed us. We smiled at Erin who sat with her back to the wall. Erin smiled at us. It appeared she was returning to Pittsburgh. She had her suitcase with her.
“We heard you praying,” the woman stated. “Erin has cancer. We were wondering. Would you pray with her?”
We would. We did.
Lenore and I stood beside Charles. Erin and her mother stood. We joined hands and prayed.
We prayed for Erin. For healing. For strength. For courage. For grace.
We prayed for Erin’s mother and family. For Erin’s friends. For the medical personnel who care for her.
When we finished, we realized we had blocked the aisle. We moved so others who had waited patiently, at least outwardly, could get by.
A woman stepped around us toward the exit. Our eyes locked for a moment. She must have been allergic to something in the restaurant because moisture rimmed her eyes, a little bit leaking out of one corner.
The restaurant’s host came from the other direction. He had been a tad grumpy when we asked for more napkins. Now a grin stretched from ear to ear. “Thank you,” he said. “That was wonderful. Thank you.”
Erin and her mother thanked us. Hugs and smiles were shared.
We are made from dust. And to the dust we will all return. But until we do, moments of grace will find us. Thanks be to God.
New York, New York
7 March 2019

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Purple flowers guest collection #81


25 March 2018
First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone
Whitestone, New York

The congregation celebrated the beginning of my ministry today with a meal
after the worship service. The flowers on the table were purple.

Photo by Sera Chung

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