Song variations: We Are One In The Spirit (religious and secular)

Since Peace Couple is designed as a gathering place for people who strive for peace, nonviolence, and harmony, we try to keep it open to people of all (or no) faiths and philosophies. While some people find religion and spirituality to be uplifting and build community, other people are concerned with the way that the practice of a specific religion can create differences, confuse people, or leave people out.

So, we have been choosing peace songs that avoid naming or praising god or a specific religion.

But, what about wonderful songs, with powerful ideas, which may resonate from our past, and/or help articulate good visions for a world of peace?

So, instead of entirely ignoring hymns and religious songs, we hope to present some especially peaceful ones, and present ideas for alternate lyrics.

“We Are One In The Spirit” was our Peace Song of the Day for January 2, 2012. The Duchess sang this song as a young adult, as part of her Protestant upbringing. It is such a beautiful song, she needed to make it the Peace Song of the Day one time. There is a link to a Youtube version: here. We will present the song with some alternate lyrics below.

Since “We Are One In The Spirit” is a kind of folk music hymn, written in 1966, it is not surprising that there are many alternate versions of the lyrics already. Though, it is ironic that one of the common alterations is to change the words that the Duchess always admired most.

One verse of the song goes, “We will work with each other, we will work  side by side. And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.” Duchess Susanna always enjoyed that line about the dignity of labor, and the value of individuals working peacefully together. Though, some people found those lines to be too affirming of personal pride, and they changed the lines to, “We will give up all our dignity and crucify our pride.” That way seems too humble and self-effacing to The Duchess. I guess it is a spiritual struggle which people see from various angles.

In the video linked to above, a men’s singing group at a San Diego church changed those lines to “We will guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.” Another version, which is useful for expressing gender equality and feminism, turns the words “each man’s dignity” into “each one’s dignity”.

The original song is about the importance of a Christian acting with love in the world. It asserts this value, and a Christian identity, by saying, “And, they’ll know we are Christians by our love…” So, it will be interesting to try to keep the spirit of the song, and its affirmations of unity, without keeping it in a Christian tradition.

Below is one attempt to use “We Are One In The Spirit” as a secular peace song, in the folk tradition of changing the words. Please consider your own suggestions. And, the Duchess may come back and revise and polish this project another time.

We Are One In The Spirit
music and original lyrics by Peter Scholte
revised lyrics by Kimberly Wilder

We are one in the spirit,
We are one with the world.
We are one in the spirit,
We are one with the world.
And we hope that peace and unity
May one day be restored
And, they’ll know our compassion by our caring,
and our love.
Yes, they’ll know our compassion by our love
(Next verse, same as original song)
We will work with each other,
We will work side by side,
We will work with each other,
We will work side by side.
And, we’ll guard each man’s dignity
And save each man’s pride.
[Alternate to end two lines above-
“And we’ll guard each one’s dignity
And save each one’s pride.”]

Below is another Youtube performance of this song. The music and spirit are vibrant in this one. (Though, they left out our favorite verse about “work”).


More Daily Peace Songs at our
Daily Peace Song
tab: here

The Peace Song of the Day is a project of Duke Augustus and Duchess Susanna, The Duke and Duchess of Peace. The Duke and Duchess recognize that one of the paths to peace is to find soulful and nonviolent entertainment, and to express oneself with art and song.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.