Friday, August 19, 2011

The Prayer of the Children

Prayer of the Children is a song for a four-part men's choir, with words and music written by Kurt Bestor and arranged by Andrea S. Klouse. Bestor served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Serbia during the 1970s. Bestor described how he came to write the song (below).

Can you hear the prayer of the children
on bended knee, in the shadow of an unknown room?
Empty eyes with no more tears to cry
turning heavenward toward the light.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to see the morning light of one more day,
but if I should die before I wake,
I pray my soul to take."

Can you feel the hearts of the children
aching for home, for something of their very own.
Reaching hands with nothing to hold onto
but hope for a better day, a better day.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the love again in my own land,
but if unknown roads lead away from home,
give me loving arms, away from harm."

Can you hear the voice of the children
softly pleading for silence in their shattered world?
Angry guns preach a gospel full of hate,
blood of the innocent on their hands.
Crying," Jesus, help me
to feel the sun again upon my face?
For when darkness clears, I know you're near,
bringing peace again."

Dali čujete sve dječje molitve?
Can you hear the prayer of the children?

" Having lived in this war-torn country back in the late 1970's, I grew to love the people with whom I lived. It didn't matter to me their ethnic origin - Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian - they were all just happy fun people to me and I counted as friends people from each region. Of course, I was always aware of the bigotry and ethnic differences that bubbled just below the surface, but I always hoped that the peace this rich country enjoyed would continue indefinitely. Obviously that didn't happen. When Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito died, different political factions jockeyed for position and the inevitable happened - civil war. Suddenly my friends were pitted against each other. Serbian brother wouldn't talk to Croatian sister-in-law. Bosnian mother disowned Serbian son-in-law and so it went. Meanwhile, all I could do was stay glued to the TV back in the US and sink deeper in a sense of hopelessness. Finally, one night I began channeling these deep feelings into a wordless melody. Then little by little I added words....Can you hear....? Can you feel......? I started with these feelings - sensations that the children struggling to live in this difficult time might be feeling. Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian children all felt the same feelings of confusion and sadness and it was for them that I was writing this song.

He told Meridian Magazine: "Those children didn't hate anybody," he said. "They didn't care about who owned the land, or who had the power or the money. These are adult neuroses. They just wanted to have a mom and dad and a place to play."

Matthew 18: 1-5. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Jesus, help me to feel the sun again upon my face! For when darkness clears, I know you're near, bringing peace again." Shalom my Friends, Peggy

Thanks Plead the Fifth for your lovely rendition! and  Wikipedia for the background info.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Silence (excerpt) Thomas Merton

Be still.

Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
To speak your

To the living walls.
Who are you?
Are you? Whose
Silence are you?
Who (be quiet)
Are you (as these stones
Are quiet). Do not
Think of what you are
Still less of
What you may one day be.
Be what you are (but who?) be
The unthinkable one
You do not know.

-Thomas Merton
Be still and know... "The quieter you become, the more you can hear." ~ Baba Ramdas.  As we grow in contemplativeness, our inner senses quicken. We realize that we can fully appreciate our reality through intuition, empathy, quiet reflection and the attention of our soul. Benedict of Nursia said, "Listen with the ear of your heart." The inner senses perceive all the essences of those stimuli that prompt the outer senses. Inflections in sound, shades of light and dark, subtle energies of people and of creation speak the language of the inner Self. We see beauty here and truth is a beacon of light, a solid stone wall of assurance. Be still and know....who are you? You do know. Be still.
Peace to you and all the world within you! Peggy

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Journey, like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
By Robert Frost 1874–1963
Steeped in the sultry dog days of summer, this poem comes to my mind. Its cools me with its imagery of snow falling gently and piling on the branches of the firs, but in a deeper sense, it implies to me a journey. Its a journey with which I am quite familiar. Its a journey that sometimes seems to end, but is really destined to life. And sometimes it continues whether I am ready for it or not.
The road of my life is lined with woods of mystery, quietness, unknowing, peace, places and people I stop and attend, just as the sleigh driver attends on this snowy evening. I become a part of the 'snowy evening' simply by being there. My spirit feels a sense of belonging to the woods, to the scenery, to the people and places I encounter on the way. And I could rest in the comfort of that belonging for.....
But like the horse, Life is impatient. Life may allow me to linger for a year, or for moments, but the journey continues, and Life shakes the harness bells to awaken my complacency and remind me to move on. The stops I make to be attentive, the relationships I forge along the journey, will hold me and teach me, but for a time. The sleigh treads of my time with friends and family will soon be covered by the "sweep of easy wind and downy flake." Life does not wait. Lingering is a luxury. Being in the scene is a gift.
My promise was made before I arrived. The covenant I keep, the sacred trajectory of my purpose and plan IS the mystery of my life, and my journey must continue. After all, in some way my microcosm life expands into God's cosmic "woods" of eternal mystery. There is only me to make this journey. Me... and God. And I have miles to go before I sleep.
May the cool image of these quiet woods refresh you. May you realize the sacred and mysterious gift of your life, as it comes to you in scenes and relationships along the way. May you always be mindful to stop doing and "Be" in the moment, for that peace is your joy. May you  be still enough to discern the sleigh bells of Divine providence quietly urging you further into the woods of life, closer to your promise, into the waiting arms of God who has called you.
Peace, Peggy