Sacred Music Friday: Distant Land redux

I shared “Distant Land” two years ago, and did so again this year on July 5th. According to my WordPress statistics it didn’t get very many views, I assume because it appeared right in the middle of the holiday weekend. It is such a beautiful melody and the words are so apt for our world full of conflict and pain, I wanted to try to give it more visibility.

The work is written by John Rutter, and this performance is by the State College Master Singers and Chamber Orchestra. It was written about the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it seems appropriate in so many contexts. Be sure to read the beautiful lyrics are below.

I see a distant land: it shines so clear.
Sometimes it seems so far, sometimes so near.
Come, join together, take the dusty road;
Help one another: share the heavy load.
The journey may be long: no end in sight:
There may be hills to climb, or giants to fight:
But if you’ll take my hand,
We’ll walk together toward the land
Of freedom, freedom, freedom.

I hear a distant song: it fills the air.
I hear it, deep and strong, rise up in prayer:
‘O Lord, we are many; help us to be one.
Heal our divisions: let thy will be done.’
I know the time will come when war must cease:
A time of truth and love, a time of peace.
The people cry, ‘How long?
Till all our world can join the song
Of freedom, freedom.’

I touch a distant hand and feel its glow,
The hand I hoped was there: at last I know.
Swords into ploughshares: can it all be true?
Friends out of strangers: start with me and you.
I see another time, another place
Where we can all be one, one human race.
The walls will melt away,
We’ll come together on the day
Of freedom, freedom, freedom.

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