I’ve loved the revival of old hymns that has been happening over the last few years. There is so much richness in those old songs!
Last night we went to hear the excellent new jazz band transit launch their eponymous album (I did briefly wonder at the wisdom of going to a gig during exam week, especially when a bunch of MTC lecturers would be present (and playing in the band), but hey, I got over it). The band plays some original material, as well as some great old hymns reworked into jazz arrangements. I really enjoyed their version of Be still my soul (especially Andy Vance’s gorgeous piano intro, and you can’t go past Sibelius’s beautiful, simple melody, really), and even better I’ve had the lyrics floating around in my head all day, especially verse two. They are especially good words to keep singing to myself as I study, and as we receive a letter putting our rent up, and as we hear news that my uncle had a mlid heart attack on the weekend (he’s okay, by the way), and…all the news, big and small, the Lord God is in control of it all.
Here’s a traditional, boys’ choir version of the hymn for your listening pleasure. It really is a beautiful piece of music.
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 heavenly 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: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening 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 blessèd we shall meet at last.
Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.
Words: Katharina A. von Schlegel, in Neue Samm lung Geist licher Lieder, 1752 (Stille, meine Wille, dein Jesus hilft sie gen); translat ed from German to English by Jane L. Borthwick in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1855.