Do Your Soul A Favor

My goal of posting weekly messages has been on hiatus for about a month, but that does not mean that I have not been writing. There are just a few other projects demanding my attention at this time.

Like most people I am aware and quite concerned about the invasion of the Ukraine by the Russian army in deference to that nation’s political leadership. I have followed some of the news stories posted on-line; a compelling drama which has displaced Covid’s news dominance of the past two years.

Unlike other bloggers, however, I have no insights to share about the outcome of the war or the prospects of a political coup in Russia. What the heartache of this event has inspired in me is the opportunity to suggest to anyone reading this message is to do your soul a favor and access any on-line version of the song This Is My Song performed to the tune of Finlandia or, more specifically, the Finlandia Hymn.

The original musical composition has an interesting an appropriate history of its own. The musical piece written by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in 1899 was part of a cultural protect performed at an event known as the Press Celebrations of 1899. The protest was against Russian oppression and its resulting censorship of the Finnish press. It would appear, then, that whether ruled by Czars or Bolsheviks, Russian methodology does not change. Freedom is not in their vocabulary.

Sibelius’ composition is, for the most part, rather turbulent in keeping with the since of oppression under which Finlanders then lived. But there is a section near the end of the piece which has been excised for the purpose of making use of its pleasantly melodic qualities for choral purposes. One version is the Finlandia Hymn, which proclaims a new birth of freedom when Finland gained its independence. Another use is the Christian hymn, Be Still, My Soul.

For my purposes, the lyrics I would like to promote as a song of hope in light of the developments in the Ukraine is the 1934 version by Lloyd Stone. His is a song of universal peace, acknowledging that the love he has for his own country is a sentiment shared by others around the world for the land they live in and love equally well. His lyrics are neither red nor blue, east nor west, occidental nor Asiatic.  

So do your soul a favor. Access this song on-line. Perhaps learn the words and sing them in response to the evil that men do.

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.
Oh, hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

PS – Thank you YouTuber Tarja M for the history lesson on Sibelius’ composition.

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