Sweetgrass and Candle

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by John Oldham
Tune Name: SWEETGRASS

Lyrics as Poetry

Sweetgrass and candle,
the peace pipe and bible,
the stories of elders
and beat of the drum;
these are the symbols
of hope, faith and justice.
We gather in circle
affirming we’re one.

Welcome the stranger
for he is our brother
and she is our sister
of mother earth.
Care for creation
for all life is sacred
and we are united
by vision’s rebirth.

Join in the circle
that will have no ending,
for we are all equal
and loved in God’s sight.
Praise the Great Spirit!
We gather as family
to sing of Love’s freedom
and dance with delight!

Welcome the stranger
for he is our brother
and she is our sister
of mother earth.
Care for creation
for all life is sacred
and we are united
by vision’s rebirth.

Sweetgrass and candle,
the peace pipe and bible,
the stories of elders
and beat of the drum;
these are the symbols
of hope, faith and justice.
We gather in circle
affirming we’re one.

Comments About Song

The text has had three musical expressions. The first was in 1986 as a joint effort with Henry Kilborn, a choir member in a Winnipeg church where John served as minister for 13 years. The second was this one (composed by Ron) and the most recent one by Rachel Landrecht.

The text was inspired by a First Nations worship service led by Native Elders and clergy. The words flowed out in a matter of minutes.

The 1986 version was sent to all United Churches in Canada to honour the year of indigenous people. The music director of CBC TV Hymn Sing arranged it for television.

The themes seek to reflect Native and Christian spirituality and the call for reconciliation.

                                              Audio Sample for "Sweetgrass and Candle"

A 'live' recording from
Knox United Church
in Parksville, British Columbia
which includes Verse 1 (sung),
Verse 2 (read by Phyllis Thomson),
and Verse 3 (sung).


▶︎ CLICK HERE
for a video accompaniment version
with WORDS.

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Aboriginal
  • Advent∶Themes∶ hope
  • Advent∶Themes∶ peace
  • Bible
  • Circle
  • Community
  • Creation∶ care of
  • Creation∶ gift of
  • Culture
  • Drum
  • First Nations
  • God∶ creator
  • Love∶ God's
  • Peace
  • Peace-pipe
  • Reconciliation

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