Fear Not

By Renaissance Girl

Gloriae Dei Cantores gave two concerts this past weekend.  The closing piece was Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem.  It is an incredibly stirring piece — first performed in 1936. Vaughan Williams, having seen first-hand the horrors of WWI, and already feeling the tensions that would lead to WWII, set texts from scripture and the expressive poetry of Walt Whitman. The full orchestra undergirds the choir’s cries for peace and laments over the relentlessness of war.  At one point, having reached a peak with a cry of “Is there no balm in Gilead?” the music takes a sudden turn with the baritone solo coming in with the words “Oh man, greatly beloved, fear not.  Peace be unto you.”  It’s as though the tired, ragged and spent body of the pray-er is suddenly breathed over and touched by the hand of God himself.  I was surprised to learn the text is from the book of Daniel.  Daniel has just seen a vision of the destruction of his people and says literally, “My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe because of the vision.” The vision before him is of a man who touches him and says the words that Vaughn Williams set — and “he was strengthened.”  It caught me that in our brokenness and exhaustion, if we can simply turn our face to God, all it takes is a word from him to strengthen us.  In international war, or our own internal battles day after day — God calls us “greatly beloved” and bids us “Fear not.”

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Photo By Kate Shannon

This entry was posted in Choir, Gloriae Dei Cantores, God, History and Archives, Love, Peace, Poem, Prayer, Scripture by Renaissance Girl. Bookmark the permalink.


About Renaissance Girl

I moved to the Community with my family in 1988 when I was 10 - which gives away my current age! I am now a solemnly professed member - I work at Paraclete Press, the publishing arm of the Community and I love my job! I also sing in the choir Gloriæ Dei Cantores, and am a member of Elements Theatre Company and Spirit of America Band. As a Docent for the Church of the Transfiguration, I get to discover new things about the church every time I share it with someone else. When I'm not doing one of those activities, I love to spend time with my dog or my "extended family". There's a lot of variety in my life which keeps me energized - and I'm learning how to be more in the moment so whether I'm at a rehearsal, or making dinner in the kitchen with 5 girls, they all get 100% of me!

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