Every year during the winter and spring, I choose a significant piece of music and learn it by heart as my prayer practice in the early morning and late evenings. I love to sing in close harmony, so this is a prayer discipline which brings me the deepest joy. Most years I learn sacred music such as Handel’s Messiah or any of the exquisite Requiem masses which I might be learning with a choir or on my own.
Some years I choose to learn the best works of a band like the Eagles or Kansas. Every day, I pour over the lyrics as poetry set to music during my prayer time in the morning and evening. Through all seasons, I sing the hymnody over and over and over until all deeply dwell in my heart, mind, and soul.
Over the past two seasons this year, I’ve gathered together some songs and singers which have carried me through seasons of profound Love and Loss. Some songs I’ve sung by heart for years. Others I’ve only recently discovered as I opened up myself to the grace of listening with my dearest of friends.
In listening to these “psalms” altogether, I’m struck by the repeating themes: our yearning to be free, hoping to fly above it all, longing to be with our truest love, waiting for love to come back to us, reaching out our hands, doubting our strengths, feeling foolish, trying to move on, navigating deep waters, trying to breathe, wondering what it feels like to die, and hoping the best is yet to come. Ultimately what we yearn to hear is that Peace is for Everyone.
Now I’m posting the best renditions of the songs I love on the three different music streaming portals called Songs for the Way of Love+ I’ve added and deleted and switched the order of the songs around dozens of times during the course of my daily and nightly prayers over the past four months. As soon as I think I’m finished, a new song arrives. It is beginning to feel like each song now flows perfectly into the next, yet the lists are not finished. The praylists will continue to unfold over the seasons to come. Posted below you’ll find all sorts of streaming links to all combinations of the songs.
As I sing a few of these songs each day, I am also praying for those I love beyond all measure and all those I love who have died. They have died, but their love for me and my love for them will never die. I’ll leave the interpretation of the sacredness of these love songs up to others, but these are the holy prayers of my joyfully aching heart indeed. Each of us has our own “praylist” to create and share.
If you deeply listen on all levels, you’ll come to realize that each song can be sung directly to God. The full spectrum of masculine and feminine voices are interchangeable. Our laments of love and our yearning desires for each other easily cross over to the Divine, if we are mindful of these holy mysteries. God is the sacred source of all of our yearning.
For over 14 years now I’ve also been keenly aware that three words are interwoven into our lives on earth and in heaven: we are scared, scarred, and sacred. These fully human and fully divine experiences of our lives and loves make us One in Christ, the true source of all of our songs. These are our psalms in all places and in all times, even and especially as we enter into each holy season of the year.
Love and Loss are most keenly felt in those closely-guarded places within us where only a few whispered words can be truly heard. These are the most intimate places within our souls where only the most trusted beloved ones are allowed to enter, it’s often found in the holy silence that comes before a tender word or kiss is offered. As it should be, we are left speechless when we encounter such profound joy and inexplicable grief.
I’ve come to deeply know that all I have to tell anyone about Love and Loss in tender times like these is best expressed by shared silence; or by sharing music which can go to those deepest places where I dare not go.
And so, these are my Songs of the Way of Love+ They come together in one long expanded praylist or compiled by themes in shorter praylists: Longing, Miracles, Truth, Freedom, Believe, Hope, Promise, Home, Imagine, LettingGo, and Poetry.
All are offered as a salty psalter of sacred prayers. When I say that I am praying for you, these are the prayers I am praying. All of these psalms are sung in the sure and certain hope of God’s unwavering love for all of us. My lilting laments are offered up for all of our dearest loves who rest in peace. We too can rest in trusting that we are One in our deepest yearnings to be closer to our truest source of love in Christ and in each other.
For further listening:
SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
257 Songs: 18 hours and 2 minutes
On YouTube: Click the white arrow below for the entire S4tWoL+ songlist:
YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO THE SfTWoL+ PRAYLISTS IN 2-HOUR SEGMENTS:
Longing, Miracles, Truth, Freedom, Believe, Hope, Promise, Home, Imagine, LettingGo, and Praise.
(click links below)
Techie Geekster Tips: All of these lists are available for free. To avoid streaming service ads, these playlists also work well with a subscription to one of the three big music/video streaming portals: Spotify, YouTube Premium, or AmazonMusic(Unlimited) with ALEXA. I also stereo-synch my Bluetooth smart speakers at home and in the car with my phone apps and/or Alexa on wifi by using two little cheap Amazon Echo Dots or the car’s sound system.
Music streaming also works well with a free downloadable Spotify app, or an AmazonMusic app, and/or a YouTube app for smartphones all of which can be synced with wifi and Bluetooth speakers at home or in the car. Linking to each of the music streaming lists directly with your computer or your smart phone works well also, with speakers or with earbuds.
LONGING: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
33 songs: 2 hours and 20 minutes
On Spotify: for Longing+ scroll the songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Longing+ click the white arrow link below
MIRACLES: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
29 songs: 2 hours 13 minutes
On Spotify: for Miracles+ scroll the songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Miracles+ click on the white arrow below
TRUTH: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
43 songs: 2 hours 36 minutes
On Spotify: for Truth+ scroll the songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Truth+ click the white arrow below
TRUTHNow: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
35 songs: 2 hours 37 minutes
On Spotify: for TruthNow+ scroll the songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for TruthNow+ click white arrow link below
HOPE: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
27 songs: 1 hour and 52 minutes
On Spotify: for Hope+ scroll the songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Hope+ click white arrow link below
PROMISE: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
32 songs: 2 hour and 6 minutes
On Spotify: for Promise+ scroll songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Promise+ click white arrow link below:
HOME: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
18 songs: 1 hour and 16 minutes
On Spotify: for Home+ scroll songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Home+ click the white arrow link below
IMAGINE: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
22 songs: 1 hour and 47 minutes
On Spotify: for Home+ scroll songs and click the white arrow link below
On YouTube: for Imagine+ click on the white arrow below
POETRY: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
On YouTube exclusively: for Poetry+ click white arrow link below
PRAISE: SONGS FOR THE WAY OF LOVE+
Ordinarily, when I create a SftWoL+ playlist, I spend days and weeks going through a long list of songs and musicians to pick a certain order of songs to flow together toward a theme. It was my intention this week to create a 2-hour playlist of my favorite Gospel Rap and Holy Hip Hop songs… and I will still do that. There is SO much good music in this genre…
… yet when I started listening to Snoop Dogg’s 2018 album, Bible of Love, I immediately knew that his work stands alone. He has offered 32 tracks of honest proclamation, confession, and inspiration to help us all keep going along the Way of Love. The long-time Gospel singers who join in on these tracks know God and know the love of Jesus inside and out.
Snoop gets his own space here to proclaim the Good News of God…. loving, liberating, life-giving. AMEN.
On Amazon Music: