LYRICS

Simple Gifts  (1848, Elder Joseph Brackett)

It's a gift to be simple it's a gift to be free 
A gift to come down where we ought to be 
And when we find ourselves in the place just right 
It will be in the valley of love and delight 

When true simplicity is gained 
To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed 
To turn turn will be our delight 
Till by turning turning we come round right

This music feels so light and airborne to me—an invitation to gratitude and wonder. I love knowing that, ultimately, I get to choose how I feel. Even in hard times, for me the choice of gratitude eventually shifts my perspective. Billy’s guitar and vocals here offer that fresh start to me every time.  ~Dirje

 Simple Gifts is a Shaker hymn written for dancing AND for church.  Makes sense — the bowing, bending, and turn turning till we come round right. For me, it activates a fountain of longing for what simplicity might mean in our modern world.  ~Billy

Let Us Break Bread Together
(African American spiritual)

Let us break bread together on our knees 
Let us break bread together on our knees
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun 
O Lord have mercy on me

Let us all pray together on our knees  
Let us all pray together on our knees 
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun  
O Lord have mercy on me

We will all sing together on that day  
We will all sing together on that day  
When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun  
O Lord have mercy on me

Throughout our friendship, Billy and I have enjoyed the adventure of improvisation. If he sets a funky groove, I’m always along for the ride.  This arrangement was exceptionally fun—I had a chance to be more percussive. The variety gave this a whole different flavor. Hope you hear our smiles. ~Dirje

Eat, pray, sing, knees, face, sun—together. This song knows what we've missed, being isolated. When I hear it, my heart smiles. Love how Dirje walks the wire and dances on it. It's the sound of joy and belonging. ~Billy

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
(1882, George Matheson & Albert L. Peace)

O love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee 
I give Thee back the life I owe 
That in Thine ocean depths its flow 
May richer fuller be 

O Light that followest all my way 
I yield my flickering torch to Thee 
My heart restores its borrowed ray 
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day 
May brighter fairer be 

O Joy that seekest me through pain 
I cannot close my heart to Thee 
I trace the rainbow through the rain 
And feel the promise is not vain 
That morn shall tearless be

This was a new one to me, and the lyrics really landed.  So many of my own difficult lessons have been the most priceless. How temporal we are, really. “O joy, that seekest me through pain….” Yes. This song feels extremely poignant and timely. ~Dirje

As a kid, when I heard this in church, I paid attention. Something extraordinary was being said. I wanted so much to grow up and get out of there.  But this—not being let go—is a deeper desire ~Billy

Spirit of the Living God (1926, Daniel Iverson)

Spirit of the living God fall fresh on me
Spirit of the living God fall fresh on me
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me
Spirit of the living God fall fresh on me

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me 
Spirit of the living God fall fresh on me

What a glorious and playful invitation this offers. Loved the opportunity to respond to the vocals/guitar with a nontraditional approach—a spirit dance.  -Dirje

Not all musicians feel they receive and channel something from beyond.  I do. This song is a prayer of creative hearts to make us alive again today. And to help us get out of our own way.  ~Billy  

There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy 
(1854, Frederick William Faber; 1877, Lizzie S. Tourjee)

There is a wideness in God’s mercy 
Like the wideness of the sea 
There is kindness in God’s justice 
Which is more than liberty 

For the love of God is broader 
Than the measure of our mind 
And the heart of the Eternal 
Is most wonderfully kind 

If our love were but more simple 
We would rest upon God’s word 
And our lives would be illumined 
In the presence of our Lord

This was new to me.  It evokes a peace — like walking outside into a beautiful open landscape. At times of overwhelm, I have prayed for God to bring me into a “wide place" (2 Samuel 22:20, Ps. 18:19). It's powerful to be given that breathing room—in our spirits, inside ourselves. A space to rest and heal in love. Friends often speak of holding space for each other. What a gift. ~Dirje

I love the lilt of the melody. And I love what this hymn knows about the expansiveness of the heart of God, beyond our imagination.  ~Billy