As I dig deeper into this section of Mystical and Meditation Songs, I realize how much I love these songs – and need them. Right now, the congregation I serve only uses two hymns, so there is no contemplative hymn in the middle of the service. And oh, how I miss that. We still have a time of meditation, but we don’t sing together an intentional time of quieting. And there’s something about that moment that is… well, somehow sacred.
This is another of my favorites, period. Not just of this type of song, but a favorite hymn. It is evocative and gentle, set to the lovely Coolinge melody. in Between the Lines, Jacqui James notes that lyricist Monroe Beardsley wrote this for a service designed to show the meaning of silence.
From all the fret and fever of the day,
let there be moments when we turn away
and, deaf to all confusing outer din,
intently listen for the voice within.
In quietness and solitude we find
the soundless wisdom of the deeper mind;
with clear harmonious purpose let us then
bring richer meaning to the world again.
And knowing that one of the members of the Hymnal Commission also wrote a meditation book called Sonata for Voice and Silence, I suspect Rev. Mark Belletini may have had a hand in this being included… because the truth is, we are people of the word, but we’re so busy talking we often forget to listen. Mark’s meditations – and this hymn – call us back to silence, to be quiet for a moment, to “intently listen for the voice within.”
May we all find richer meaning – in our silence, in our encounters, and in our new year… which we hope, in the words of Sherman T. Potter (M*A*S*H), will “be a damn sight better than the old one.”