Little By Little

Based on the writing of Dorothy Day.

Little By Little
Bret Hesla, © 2003

Refrain:
Little by little by little.
Little by little by little.
Little by little by little, I know
The tiniest seeds will grow.

1. Growing in cracks and crevices (3x)
we are everywhere

2. Habits of peace and justice (3x)
tools to change the world

3. Never resorting to violence (3x)
we will find a way

4. Working with all of each other (3x)
we are not alone (Ch.)

5. The Spirit is present among us (3x)
we are filled with power

6. Rooted in the Water of Mercy (3x)
we will surely flower. (Ch.)

———————-

This song lifts up this vision of small steps leading to deep change. It is inspired by a book called: By Little and By Little: The selected writings of Dorothy Day., 1983. The book is comprised of essays describing her persistent following of active nonviolence, and her focusing on the small, ordinary acts and the ‘holy sublimity of the everyday’. This song was written as part of a collaboration with Jack Nelson Pallmeyer, who has written widely about the nonviolent vision of Jesus, who insisted that kingdom of god would be something ordinary and easily missed (yeast, small seeds), not dominating and all powerful. [see e.g.: Worship in the Spirit of Jesus: Theology Liturgy and Songs Without Violence, 2004.]

It feels good to sing about how we are the tiny weed-seeds that grow in the cracks and can’t be repressed. The weeds of peace and promise.

Churches have used this for a sending song. It’s also a favorite among very young children at several schools I know of. Kids really respond to this idea that daily habits of peace and justice can change the world. Depending on the verses, it works in faith-based or secular setting.

Why the dark room in the video? This video took place at Calvary Lutheran in Minneapolis. About an hour before the Sunday service, a big storm knocked out the power. So what to do. The folks who showed up anyway met in a room with some natural light. As so often happens, the natural world knocks us out of our routines, and the group felt more at ease, and more connected, than usual.

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