Be Neither Silent Nor Still

winter skyIn the past few weeks, the silent landscape of winter has shifted into a vibrant chorus of bird song as the winged ones return and begin to court and nest. The spring equinox has passed, and though winter lingers on, each day grows longer and brighter – light is returning to the world. A time of renewal in the earth also seems the time to renew one’s spirit.

Ten years ago, I composed a set of pieces for the 125th Anniversary of Duquesne University entitled “The Trees of Righteousness.” The text, taken from the biblical sources of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Psalms, explored the sense of being called to a purpose in the world.  The second movement, “Be Neither Silent Nor Still” always comes to my mind during Lent and Holy Week.  It is about the dark night of the soul, about searching for light as well as a cry for compassion and justice. As we emerge from the long dark nights of winter, the song reminds me that this is a universal experience of being a human on the earth, regardless of one’s religious or spiritual beliefs. It was written for my dear friend and colleague Guenko Guechev, whose magnificent voice you will hear on the recording. May you find renewal of the heart, mind and spirit this spring.   

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Be Neither Silent Nor Still from “The Trees of Righteousness” music by Lynn Emberg Purse,  @2003

O God, be neither silent nor still.

I look for the light but all is darkness
I look for the light, the light of dawn, but I walk in shadow.
I reach out like a blind man, a blind man along a wall
waiting for justice, for justice, and there is none.

O God, be neither silent nor still.

The wretched and the poor look for water and find none.
Their tongues are parched with thirst, parched with thirst.
Will you not turn the wilderness into pools
and dry land into springs of water?

O God, be neither silent nor still.

Give me a new heart, give me a new heart and
put a new spirit within me.
Take the heart of stone from my body, the heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh, of flesh,
a new spirit within me.

O God, be neither silent nor still,

30 thoughts on “Be Neither Silent Nor Still

  1. Thank you Lynn for this loveliness. I tried an experiment: I listened to the Vancouver bird sounds (stillness interrupted by the birds to announce the return of spring and God) while reading the poem “Oh God be neither silent nor still,” then I listened to your friend sing your composition while I mediated on your photos. I am refreshed!

    • Eleanor, that’s perfect! I set up the structure of the post for exactly that kind of experience; I’m so glad it worked for you. Thank you for your kind comments; I read them this morning right before I went outside before first light; the dawn chorus was astonishingly rich and full now that the warm weather has arrived, so it made tonight’s evening “vespers” seem even more of a contrast.

  2. Ahhh….. so very lovely, so very beautiful. Your music touches my spirit. Exactly what I needed this morning. Thank you, thank you. Blessings

  3. So lovely, Lynn; thank you for the grace and extraordinary beauty you offer the world through your many gifts! Just a beautiful wonder to visit your site and be fed and renewed.

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