Monday, October 31, 2011

The Season of All Saints and All Souls

"Come have breakfast ... in the rain."
I love the rhythm and flow of the church calendar. At this time of year, I always feel like we're moving into a new season. I know it's still "the Sundays after Pentecost," but there's a chill in the air, and I can't believe it's still the same season it was in June. So when the Feasts of All Saints (November 1) and All Souls (November 2) come, at least in my mind, we're moving into a brown season, a season of harvest, a season of burning leaves. This season will carry us into late November when the season of Advent begins.

This is a season in which we both honor death for its power over us mortals, and also mock it for its impotence in the face of Christ's Resurrection. The lectionary readings during this season turn grim and judgmental. I muse a lot about death in the month between All Saints and Advent.

At the same time, though, I'm beginning new classes this week. While I continue Church History and Hebrew, I'm adding two new ones: Revisioning Parish Ministry and Old Testament. So while All Hallows' Eve is about death, it is also about rebirth and renewal.

I began to create suites of music for each church season several years ago. Each year, I refine (and inevitably expand) each suite of music based on new theological reflections. Here's my music for this brown season of All Saints. The songs compiled here are mixed into suites by theme.

Having just finished a stint as a hospice volunteer, I am listening to these songs with fresh ears. And while I understand that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five stages of dying have been scientifically discredited in recent years, I have found them to be an excellent organizing principle for this collection of songs. Enjoy ... and please, if you like something you discover here, go buy it!

(Right-click on a brown link to download it.)

Ya Kid K – Life
Yael Naïm – New Soul
Simon & Garfunkel – Blessed
Sufjan Stevens – The Vivian Girls Are Visited in the Night by Saint Dargarius and His Squadron of Benevolent Butterflies
U2 & Green Day – The Saints Are Coming
XTC – In Loving Memory of a Name
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis

Suite 2: Denial

Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch – I’ll Fly Away
Tori Amos – Happy Phantom
They Might Be Giants – Turn Around
Fastball – The Way
Radiohead – Airbag
Coldplay – 42
XTC – Dying
Howard Jones – Hunger for the Flesh
They Might Be Giants – Road Movie to Berlin

The Police – Spirits in the Material World
Modest Mouse – Ocean Breathes Salty
Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell
XTC – No Language in Our Lungs
Metallica – Fade to Black
Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger
Queen – The Show Must Go On

Ralph Stanley – O Death
Blue Oyster Cult – (Don’t Fear) the Reaper
Tennessee Ernie Ford – Sixteen Tons
They Might Be Giants – Dead
XTC – Rook
Postal Service – We Will Become Silhouettes
Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You into the Dark

Bob Dylan – Knocking on Heaven’s Door
R.E.M. – Daysleeper
Toad the Wet Sprocket – Begin
Queen – Who Wants to Live Forever
XTC – The Last Balloon
Howard Jones – Elegy

Indigo Girls – History of Us
Flaming Lips – Do You Realize?
Sufjan Stevens – We Won’t Need Legs to Stand
Seal – Prayer for the Dying
Semisonic – Closing Time
Pink Floyd – The Great Gig in the Sky
Byron Hawkins & J.L. Hosler – Crossing the Bar
Beatles – Let It Be

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