In crazy times this gentle hymn reminds us

If you missed church at Grace on Sunday the word of the morning was “silence.”

 

We live in a noisy world. In normal times it’s filled with loud voices, shouting, big personalities, distractions and plenty of pushiness.

 

And now in a continuing pandemic we factor in angst, arguments, protests and fist fights.

 

The opposite of noise is silence. Another word – stillness, all the way down to the soul. And a popular hymn on Sunday served as a reminder. It’s not the first time down this road…the archives from three years ago remind us. What’s old is new again…

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

From Scott...

 

It’s interesting – the power of a song.

 

This past Sunday at Grace I was quietly thrilled when the final song sung was perhaps my favorite hymn.

 

Or at least, the tune was the same.

 

It’s called Finlandia. It was composed by famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius around 1900 and is referred to as a national song of that Scandinavian country.

 

Sibelius originally composed the piece as part of a series to bolster Finnish nationalism against the repression of their very large neighbor to the east, Russia. Interesting how some things never change.

 

Even if you don’t recognize the name of the song, you’ll know the tune. Turn on your speakers and give it a listen...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJepKsg73o

 

But of course, a hymn is usually more than just a tune. There’s also the lyrics.

 

And with the popularity of Finlandia, there are a number of songs that use the music as their base.

 

But two stand out from the rest.

 

One is usually recognized as the Finnish national song.  And the lyrics speak to us today...

 

This is my song, O God of all the nations,

A song of peace for lands afar and mine.

This is my home, the country where my heart is,

Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine.

But other hearts in other lands are beating,

With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

 

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,

And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.

But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,

And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.

O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,

A song of peace for their land and for mine.

 

The all male a cappella group Cantus has an outstanding version of the song, my favorite rendition...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDXNHPeRB0k

 

While most national songs are essentially all about that country, this song reaches out to other nations. Other hearts are beating, same as mine. Other countries have blue skies and sunlight, same as mine.

 

And a song of peace – for their land and for mine.

 

In our current times of tumult, it’s a feeling that needs to be passed from person to person, place to place, country to country. Not mandated by politicians and governments – instead, coming from each individual.

 

When we look at our Christian faith it’s also about the choices of individuals, not the pronouncements of so-called leadership. Each one of us makes the call – to believe, to have faith, to help others. From God of ALL the nations.

 

And the lyrics to the other famed version of Finlandia also resonate in our current age. You know the song, written originally in German by Katharina von Schlegel in 1752...

 

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

 

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

 

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

 

The song is a reminder of who’s in charge – not a tyrant, not a strongman, not a boss, not a celebrity, not a tech wiz, not even a president.

 

When times are tough, which happens to us all at some point, the Lord is on your side. Be patient – all will be good in the end. Let God lead, He will always provide.

 

Be still, my soul – do not let tumultuous times overtake me. Those times will come – they always come.

 

But our Lord reigns, always, everywhere, every time.

 

When I have my own times of trouble, when life is flying by too quickly or I have personal or work problems or I find my heart beating way too fast from worry, I try to remember the words and hum the tune...

 

Be still, my soul. The Lord is on my side.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

 

And despite this continuing Covid chaos, I know that I am well taken care of. Always.