Songs in the Desert

Listen to the episodes in this project:

A few days before Ash Wednesday 2017 I became inspired to host a collaborative conversation on hymns. Which hymns speak to us and why?

One of the ways I thought we could respond to the Church's invitation to a "holy Lent" would be to dive a bit deeper into the hymns of our faith.

You can read the invitation here: "A Collaborative Lenten Devotional on Hymns", also reprinted below.

I'm an Episcopalian, and I suspect most of the forthcoming submissions are either in the Hymnal 1982 or known in Episcopal circles, but I would welcome hymns from any Christian tradition.

Submissions have been trickling in, but I welcome more from anyone! I would like to post one or two a week beginning Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

You can listen to the latest submissions to this project as a podcast or on the blog under the label Songs in the Desert

Here is the original invitation:

A Collaborative Lenten Devotional on Hymns

So many people think that Lent is about giving something up rather than taking something on to go deeper into the faith.

I have so many wonderful, thoughtful readers of this blog. I wonder if you might be willing to team up to create an online Lenten devotional? I was thinking especially about hymns.

This can really take any form you want. I don't have any guidelines, but here are some thoughts to get you started.

Here's the plan: use the voice memo app on your phone to record a thought or two about your chosen hymn and send it to me at

Finally, don't forget to say who you are, where you live, and what you do so we can add that in.

You can speak informally, or write out a script first. It doesn't matter to me. You can talk for as long as you like, but I'll probably edit it down to about 2-3 minutes or so.

My plan is to edit these together with some music and then push them out during Lent.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I have to choose a hymn that is appropriate for Lent?

A: No. Just because we are undertaking this project in Lent we are not limiting your selection of hymn in any way. "Alleluias" are fine. And we would be surprised if anyone was truly inspired to talk about a hymn in the Lent section of the hymnal.

Q: Do I have to pick just one hymn?

A: Yes. We know it's hard.

Q: Do I have to be a musician/priest/theologian?

A: No, though submissions are welcome from all of the above! Your honest, personal reflection/reaction to a hymn is what will make this project interesting.

Q: Do I have to record any music too?

A: No. We just want to hear 2-3 minutes of your thoughts recorded via a voice memo app (or a digital recorder if you're really fancy). If you have a recording of the hymn or you want to make one in addition to your spoken remarks that's great, but it's not required.

Q: I really like the name "Songs in the Desert". Where did it come from?

A: It was suggested by Jason Sims.

Q: Where do I send my finished voice memo again?

A: Email it to

Q: What if I really don't like the idea of recording my own voice?

A: We want as much participation as possible. If you cannot or don't want to record your voice, a written reflection would be fine too! Email it to

This page last updated 22 March 2017