2019 marks the fifteenth anniversary of Sufjan Stevens’ remarkable album Seven Swans. Apart from his Christmas albums, the twelve songs on Seven Swans are by far the most overtly Christian in Stevens’ catalog: track one, “All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands,” takes its title from Isaiah 55:12; track two, “Abraham,” meditates on the patriarch’s near-sacrifice of his only beloved son, Isaac. These sometimes scriptural, sometimes literary (“A Good Man is Hard to Find”), always spiritual musical meditations culminate in the final track of the album, “The Transfiguration.”
Some milestones in the Lenten season are literally a pleasure to celebrate as days for rejoicing or gaining new insight or simply making this journey of ours a bit more sentimental. When the liturgical calendar brought us the solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of the blessed Virgin Mary, on March 19, it was traditional and meaningful to have a parish party—a feast for the senses which help incarnate Eastertime love in god’s family.