Lent 2023


Some random bits for Lent 2023.

No Earthly Good – Johnny Cash. This is a song John wrote. It was on The Rambler album in 1977 and the posthumous Unearthed Collection in 2003; this is the latter version.  “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good” was attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

The lyrics of the song include:

The gospel ain’t gospel until it is spread
But how can you share it where you’ve got your head
There’s hands that reach out for a hand if you would
So heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly good

I’ve come across responses suggesting the premise is false because they didn’t know anyone so focused on heaven that one could forget their neighbor on earth. In my experience, I have known a few who are so captivated by the hereafter that their Now is bereft of compassion.

I was taken by John Green’s recent four-minute vlog post Empathy and its Limits. Among other things, he notes, as I have noticed for decades, about the word invalid. One meaning is “a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury.” Another is “being without foundation or force, in fact, truth, or law.” They are spelled the same, though pronounced differently. And often, the sickly are invalidated.

Requiem pieces

I’ll admit to feeling a bit grumpy about a snippet of Lacrimosa from the Mozart Requiem being used for a pain reliever advertisement. I was so annoyed that my brain blocked out the product’s name. I’ve sung the Mozart Requiem thrice, the last time on September 11, 2002.

When I was at my former church back in the 1990s,  we sang the Rutter Requiem. My favorite section is Out Of The Deep.

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place is from Brahms’ German Requiem, done in English. Members of the choir of my old church, some other singers, and I sang it at the funeral of my friend Jim Kalas in 2022.

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