Moment of Wonder in a Train Station


On Being (the radio show and website)  is one of my favorite “growing spaces.”  It often contributes to my goal of finding the perfect, daily moments of nothing-special that, simply by virtue of noticing them, become  possibilities of inherent wonder.”  (see previous post (Shimmering Possibilities Everywhere

I found a video of the group Árstíðir singing an old Icelandic hymn “Heyr himna smiður” in a German train station on the On Being website. The words to this oldest known Scandinavian hymn date back to the early 13th century when the Icelandic chieftain Kolbeinn Tumason reportedly wrote them on his deathbed.  More than seven centuries later, the composer Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson put them to music.  Here is one beautiful English translation:

Hear, smith of the heavens,
what the poet asks.
May softly come unto me
thy mercy.
So I call on thee,
for thou hast created me.
I am thy slave,
thou art my Lord.

God, I call on thee
to heal me.
Remember me, mild one,
Most we need thee.
Drive out, O king of suns,
generous and great,
human every sorrow
from the city of the heart.

Watch over me, mild one,
Most we need thee,
truly every moment
in the world of men.
send us, son of the virgin,
good causes,
all aid is from thee,
in my heart.

The author of the post on the website, Trent Gillis, says, “Because Árstíðir sings this hymn in the cathedral of a train station rather than a concert hall, the experience feels special, significant, universal. And this act contributes to the transforming the everyday into something aspirational, transformative.”

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