Favorite Christian Hymns and Songs: Be Still, My Soul

Singing hymns, songs, and choruses has and continues to be a vital part of Christian worship and fellowship.  Whether it is a scripture composed into a hymn or the poetic words of someone gifted with the ability to awaken the echoes of God dwelling in us, we all have our favorites.  So I thought I would occasionally share some of my favorites and if you have a favorite or two that you would like to share, then by all means feel free to do so.

The hymn that is dearest to me is Be Still, My Soul written in 1752 by Ka­tha­ri­na von Schle­gel and translated into English by Jane L. Borthwick in 1855.  I did not learn this hymn until I was a seminary student at Harding University Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tennessee.  There I was sitting in chapel with my pretend happy face on while truthfully my faith was dying and being ripped apart as I tried to reconcile faith in a good and loving God with the reality that my son (and only child at the time) had died.  The words of this hymn spoke eloquently to both the grief and pain that was consuming me and the faith that I longed to have which felt at the time beyond grasp.

Though there are more stanzas to this hymn, I have included the stanzas which are included in the hymnal Songs of Faith and Praise which is used by many Churches of Christ in North America.  Here are the words:

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 every 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 hastening 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 blessèd we shall meet at last.

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6 responses to “Favorite Christian Hymns and Songs: Be Still, My Soul

  1. Yes, a great song.

  2. I don’t remember singing that hymn. Good words.

    Lately I’ve been thinking again about my favorite and least favorite hymns.

    Currently my two least favorite are “Count Your Blessings” (is that all we should do with them in our private little spirituality?) and “I’ll Fly Away” (stinks like gnosticism).

    My two favorites continue to be “Oh Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “This is My Father’s World.” Interestingly, while I was at Harding School of Biblical Studies I didn’t like to sing that latter song. My doctrine has since improved (or so I like to think, anyway!).

  3. Good choice. Just to sound like an old man, I long for the depth of lyrics that some of the old songs had. I love a lot of the new praise songs, but you can’t beat a lot of the pre-1900 stuff for profoundness.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  4. Thank you all for stopping by and commenting. As my faith and theological understanding of the Christian faith has deepend and grown, my preferences in Christian songs has changed some. I still enjoy a lot of the contemporary worship songs coming out but I also love the older classical hymns…still not much love for some of the late 19th and 20th century songs that seemed to incorporate so much Platonic dualism in them. In the future I will share some more favorite hymns and songs.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  5. I love classical hymns (and I’m 30!). So deep. So theological. So true. (and non repetitive!)

    Best Song: It is Well
    Worst Song (by leaps and bounds): Can He Still Feel the Nails (ugh!)

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