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The Beauty of Thy Peace

Lenten Meditation 2016

The Beauty of Thy Peace
Friday, February 26, 2016 James Walker
photo of Sea of GalileeSea of Galilee

O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

This portion of Whittier’s poem holds a special place in my heart, dating from my childhood at our family’s Presbyterian church, when I sang a Charles Ives setting of this text as a boy chorister.

The beauty of thy peace.” I sure feel the need to confess that ineffable peace right now, and I suspect this is true for many of us.

From the blather and posturing of our current political scene to the many life transitions in which I find myself, life seems to be loaded with opportunities for anxiety and what-​ifs. While consciousness and attention to all aspects of my life — including cultural annoyances — is important, sometimes a certain focus can become a distraction from what is truly important.

This Lent, my meditation and prayer is to center myself into the “still dews of quietness.”

A nationally-​recognized conductor and concert organist, James Walker entertains and enlightens audiences throughout the United States, and his solo recitals are broadcast on National Public Radio. Winner of the prestigious Mader National Organ-​Playing Competition in 1986, he is a featured soloist at Bach festivals and regional and national music conventions. Currently James is Director of Music at All Saints Church, Pasadena, California.