STLT#301, Touch the Earth, Reach the Sky!

I’ve probably started this post eight or nine times so far. And nothing witty or insightful has shown up in any of those beginnings.

It’s not that this isn’t a lovely hymn – it is.

It’s not that this isn’t a good message for us to sing together – it is.

Maybe its that it goes on for five verses – perfect for a General Assembly crowd (written for the 1988 GA in Palm Springs, CA) because it takes five verses to get to the back of the hall, but a bit tiresome in a tiny room of 40.

Or maybe because I don’t know it well and as written seems sing-songy to me.

The fact of the matter is that Unitarian Universalist musician Grace McLaren has written a lovely hymn:

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Walk on shores while spirits fly
over the ocean, over the land,
our faith a quest to understand.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Children ask the reasons why.
In our lives the answers show,
and by our love they learn and grow.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
All are born and all shall die;
life’s the time left in between,
to follow a star, to build a dream.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Hug the laughter, feel the cry.
May we see where we can give,
for this is what it means to live.

Touch the earth, reach the sky!
Soar with courage ever high;
spirits joining as we fly,
to touch the earth, to reach the sky.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a solid hymn. Good, earth-based and humanist-grounded lyrics. And in the event Wake Now My Senses, Make Channels for the Streams of Love, or With Heart and Mind suddenly disappear from the hymnal, the Life of Integrity section would still be well tended.

It just doesn’t sing for me. It doesn’t inspire me this morning. Again, maybe I need to sing it with a good accompaniment in a big congregation.

And I know I can’t expect every hymn to stir me, just as I can’t expect every spiritual practice to click either. I just wish this one did.

West Wing fans: you nearly got a picture of William Fichtner as Judge Christopher Mulready. I guess I finally found a moment of wit. 🙂

1 Comment

  1. I was at the 1988 G.A. when this song was introduced, and I’ve never liked it. Even with 3000 voices, it didn’t “sing” to me — I think the tune is clumsy and difficult, and the words are hokey.


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