lenten journal: random notes


Sometimes you get on a roll — I mean I get on a roll and I forget things I already know. Last night I got going on the idea that Jesus didn’t sing and it all fell together so nicely until I got up this morning to find notes from a couple of friends reminding me of Mark 14:26:

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

After the shared their last supper, Mark says they sang. The verse is not obscure. In fact, it is part of the closing of our Communion service every month. Ginger says the verse and then we all sing together and go out, but to Coffee Hour instead of the Mount of Olives. I read the comments and smiled at myself. Mark writes as though “the hymn” was something they knew and sang regularly — or so it seems as I read his words tonight. I hear the word hymn and I’m going through a list of songs that Jesus knew nothing about. Whatever they sang would have been a Hebrew song out of their Jewish tradition; no one in the room knew anything about being a Christian.

But they sang together. I’m glad to be reminded of such an obvious moment.


Tonight I came across this report from NPR about a class Billy Joel taught at Vanderbilt. During the question and answer time, a student named Mark Pollack told Joel that “New York State of Mind” was his favorite song and asked if he could come up and play it with him. Billy told him to come on up and the young man played as he sang. It’s one of my favorites, too, and this version ranks up their with the best of them: the courage of the kid to ask and the generosity of Billy Joel to share the stage and risk the song.


In years past, I have posted a Lenten Soundtrack, which has consisted of regularly offering clips of songs that help me through the season. Though I have not been as frequent this year, tonight feels like a good night to include one of the songs I keep coming back to in my life: “LIttle Victories” by J. D. Souther.

in my hometown and family circles
they seem unsure and unempowered
oh, they don’t understand and you can’t help that
though you can love so hard, that never comes back
till you just can’t take it for one more hour

little victories
I know you need one
little victories

I know it hurts sometimes to look around
the sameness of it beats you down
and the best seems all behind before you start

little victories
I know you need one
little victories of the heart


I got a text from my nephew Ben telling me he was at the Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell concert in New Orleans, where they are opening their national tour. I gave him their new record for his birthday last week. I will let the title track be our benediction:

we are
following stars
way cross the sky
round an old yellow moon



  1. Ohmygoodness, that Billy Joel thing – amazing. I love to see talent given space – and the grace to give it is a gift in itself. And I thought you were TRULY on a roll, friend. I loved that post, as I do everything I find here.

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