The Camino through song: Finlandia

I noticed that I’ve been having a hard time getting motivated to write. I don’t know where to start because so much happened for me on the Camino. So much in me has changed. What they say about spiritual seeking is true: it’s hard to find words to describe the experience.

However, music is a transcendent medium for me and I’ve been compiling a list of songs that were on my mind while I walked.

So I’m letting them start the conversation — with the song that ran through my mind almost every day: Finlandia. The Indigo Girls did an a capella version of it early in their career which I performed in a quartet at the celebration of life ceremony of a local friend.

Why I think Finlandia was in my head

The very first people I met took the same puddle jumper from Ireland and we wandered around lost together, trying to find the train station. We were an American, a Canadian, and an Irishman. The next people I met were my roommates in Saint Jean Pied de Port, France who were Colombian and Austrian — two delightful women who shared two whole weeks of the journey with me. I met many other people from Russia, Holland, Italy, Spain, France, England, Czech Republic, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

As I walked with all of these people, I started to appreciate that although we all came from different places and spoke different languages or with different accents, our hearts were all the same. Our fears were the same. Our need for one another, the same.

So this song ran through my head a lot. It was part prayer, part affirmation, part reverence for the many lives that touched mine along the Way.

This is my song, O God of all the Nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is.
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight, too, and clover
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, Thou God of all the Nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

4 thoughts on “The Camino through song: Finlandia

  1. Whenever we sing that song at church I call it the “anti-americanism” song in my head because it’s the perfect antidote to all the messages that the USA is the best place, with the best people, and that somehow God loves us more than anyone else. When in fact, God loves everyone the same, and doesn’t root for winners and losers in earthly wars, political races, or football games.

  2. I LOVE this music by Sibelius. My first exposure was the full wind ensemble (originally for orchestra) piece – it’s about 9 minutes long. Here’s a link to the Tokyo Wind Ensemble performing it in toto. start at 5:40 for “The Hymn” from Finlandia – the harmonies are so rich. especially at 6:51, you’ll hear some beautiful counter melody in the horns. ooh! shivers me timbers.

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