Saturday, December 15, 2012

Be Still My Soul

Yesterday, while we were driving home from Milwaukee, we learned of the tragedy that occurred in elementary school in Newton, Connecticut.  We were enjoying the morning together, heading home following a week of caring for my mother.  We were a mom, a dad, and a kindergarten-age daughter enjoying a sunny day, remarking on what a good traveler our daughter has become.  And at the very same time there were many parents of similar aged children experiencing the unfolding of something so horrible as to be beyond imagination or comprehension.  I don’t have words that can speak to the pain of this tragedy.

Our practice at bedtime is to read from the Bible with our daughter and then to pray with her.  After the prayer one of us stays with her and sings to her.  We take turns.  We used to hold her and rock her as we sang but now she lies in bed.  Last night it was my turn. 

I sang one song and then I did something that I haven’t done since she was too big to rock.  I hummed a melody.  I hummed the melody known as Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius.  It is the only melody I’ve ever hummed with her.

There are several hymns that use that melody and after tucking her in I looked up the lyrics to the one I am most familiar with, Be Still My Soul, by Kathrina von Schlegel.  Here are those lyrics and I offer them as a prayer to the parents and other people who have been directly impacted by this tragedy. 

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: 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 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.

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.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” 
Ephesians 3:20-21

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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