From the compilation,
The One-year Book of Hymns
Edited by Kathryn S. Olson
Be Still, My Soul
During the psalmist's troubles, the Lord said, "Be still and know that I am God." These words spoke to Katharina von Schlegel in the turbulent times of post-Reformation Germany. A century after Luther's reforms, central Europe was racked by the Thirty-Year War, which pitted Catholics against Protestants. The Lutheran church lapsed into formalism and dead orthodoxy. In the darkness of that time, God raised up the Pietist movement, which stressed personal holiness, charity, missions, and music.
The Pietists' songs were largely unknown outside of Germany until three British women – Jane and Sarah Borthwick and Catherine Winkworth – began to translate the poetic lyrics into English a hundred years later. Today's hymn, penned by the leading woman of the Pietist movement, a canoness of a women's seminary, was among those forgotten songs.
Be Still, My Soul
Katharina Amalia von Schlegel
Translated by Jane Laurie Borthwick
Music by Jean Sibelius
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 ev’ry 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! 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.
An addition by David:
I am reminded of a tune from the 1980s by Randy Stonehill (Still, Small Voice) that detailed this message: “I. Can Hear. That Still, Small Voice. Whispering. ‘I AM’.” As I’ve grown enough to realize the benefits of listening to God speaking in that still, small voice, His will becomes more alive. At times, life gets in the way of hearing that still, small voice; however, God affirms, "Be still and know that I Am God!"
© 2017 by Robert K. Brown and Mark R. Norton All rights reserved
Paraphrased by Music Director, David K. Bakken, Ed.D.
April 18, 2021