Long Island

A Hymn of Peace

Other Links
A page at Art 101 includes a MP3 sung version
Wikepedia provides information on the music "Finlandia" and other words song to the tune.
An authoritative (I think) brief on the music.
This is one of my all-time favorite hymns, and especially meaningful to me in the present circumstances.  Stanzas 1-2 are by a more-or-less obscure poet, Lloyd Stone (1912-1992/3, written in the interval between WWI and WWII when he was 22 years old. 

Stanza 5 is by Methodist theologian Georgia Harkness.  I believe Stanzas 3-4 are also by Harkness.  Stanzas 3-5 are clearly Christian.  Stanzas 1-2 reflect a more universal God and common human yearning, and I've seen it used in Buddhist and non-denominational settings.  Stanzas 3-4 are not often found in hymnals, and stanza 5 is sometimes also omitted.

I personally prefer just the first two stanzas.  If a third stanza is to be used, I prefer using the fourth, not the fifth.  The universality of the message in the first two stanzas is spoiled, in my mind, by the harsh intrusion of Christian theology in the third and fifth stanzas. The "till all shall serve him" conquering faith imagery believed by many in our faith is clearly offensive to many non-Christians (and I suspect would have been offensive to Jesus himself); just as we may find a similar absolutism strain in Islam offensive and frightening.  Therefore, I've grayed the print of these stanzas below -- "they wouldn't be missed."

The music is, of course, the hymn version of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius.   Click here for musict. 

As I did research for this page, I found many others who found this hymn "their favorite" for the time.

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 cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a prayer that peace transcends in every place;
and yet I pray for my beloved country --
the reassurance of continued grace:
Lord, help us find our one-ness in the Savior,
in spite of differences of age and race.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

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 'til all shall serve him,
and hearts united, learn to live as one:
O hear my prayer, thou God of all the nations,
myself I give thee -- let thy will be done.