Sunday, November 3, 2013

"This Is My Song"

I sung in church today.  For those of you who know me really well you will understand that this was a reluctant act.  I come from a family that loves to sing.  My mother is very musical and most of my life has been in either church or show choirs.  I cannot even tell you the number of times that people have turned around and told her how beautiful her voice is.  She is a alto, she likes the belt, and she is hard to miss.  I love to sing as well but it makes me very anxious.  I prefer to keep my singing to in the car or in large groups where I can sing loud but enjoy the security of a group.  But last week the Relief Society President asked me to sing in our lesson dedicated to hymns, and so for her I did.  I sung "Be Still My Soul" which happens to be one of my favorite hymns.  I also was asked to share a little about the hymn.

It was during this research that I discovered the tune is actually the same used for Finlandia.  Composed by Jean Sibelius, words added in 1941 by Veikko Koskenniemi, the tune is one of the most important national songs in Finland.  It also has been used in many other hymns.  It was while looking through the hymns that I stumbled upon "This is My Song" which apparently is a song sung by the United Methodists.  I loved it from my first time reading the lyrics.  They are as follows:

This is my song, oh 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.
This is my song, thou God of all the nations;
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
This is my prayer, O Lord of all earth's kingdoms:
Thy kingdom come on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him,
And hearts united learn to live as one.
Oh hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations;
Myself I give thee; let thy will be done.

These words were so beautiful to me.  I have parents who come from two different countries.  My mother is American and my father was born and raised in Mexico.  It always gave me an interesting view on National Pride and what that really means.  Does it mean the raising of one's own country or one's own self above others?  American Exceptionalism, does that mean that we are the best far above others? Sometimes I feel like people lose sight that National Pride does not have to be accomplished by degrading other nations and it has always made me exceptionally uncomfortable.  Let me tell you a story about my father that may better illustrate where I'm coming from.  

Most of my life my father has either been in the Military or the Reserves.  When the Second Gulf War came, even though he was almost in his 50's he was called up to serve.  During that time he wrote me in a letter, "In the back windows of my truck I have two huge flags, one is the American, one is the Mexican."  It touched me deeply to think of his love for both his Nations.

It is this sentiment that resonated so clearly with me in "This Is My Song".  "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."  Just beautiful.  I hope that we never lose sight that the Church is a global church.  That God is a God of all Nations.  That all people have hopes and dreams and value that is as great as our own.  May we always been looking for the best in others, drawing on their strengths, and working together to strengthen up each others weaknesses.  

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post so much! I've been feeling kind of sensitive about this issue recently. Sometimes it's so difficult to have your heart in more than one place.

    Those are beautiful lyrics. And I wish I could've heard you sing 'Be Still My Soul.' I might just be singing that (in Russian, with another girl (saying 'woman' sounds too pretentious (I am not a woman...I am a girl!))) when the RS President's son gets off his mission (he's in Russia and that's his favourite hymn). But he also comes home the week before we might end up singing a Christmas song instead. We'll see. :)



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...