soul by soul and silently

Jul 8, 2012

I have had a tune floating around in my head for a couple of days, and only today took the time to work out how it got into my head.

You will recognise the tune. Take a moment to listen to part of Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter” from his “Planets” suite at this link. Jump ahead to 3.06 seconds to hear the piece that I am referring to. (This section finishes at 4.59 seconds)

Take a moment to listen now.

Ok, you recognise the tune?  We know it better as the musical setting for Cecil Spring-Rice’s poem “I Vow to thee my Country.”

When I took a moment to ponder the tune in my head I realised that it was because the words of Spring-Rice’s poem  express so well what I was blogging about yesterday (link below) … and I know this great poem only because of the wonderful tune.

Take a moment to consider the first stanza:

I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,

Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,

The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice

This is the way of the world: violence, strength, power… that is, the method of armies flailing about in earthly battles.  Yes, these earthly wars are often well-intentioned, and the scene of generous giving of life in the service of country. But this is not the method of bringing peace that Jesus gives to us.

Now look at the contrast in the final verse. (there is a lesser known second stanza as well).  In this final stanza we hear of THE kingdom:

And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,

Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;

Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;

And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.

You might like to listen now to the words and music together.   I can date my awareness of the power of this poem (carried by the great music),  back to September 1997: the funeral of Diana.  So here is the clip from that moment.

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