This haunting song by Loreena McKinnett has been ringing in my head as I read about the state of the world through my newsfeeds. I am been trying to understand the meaning of the song. But first the lyrics.

“Beneath A Phrygian Sky”

The moonlight it was dancing
On the waves, out on the sea
The stars of heaven hovered
In a shimmering galaxyA voice from down the ages
So in haunting in its song
These ancient stones will tell us
Our love must make us strongThe breeze it wrapped around me
As I stood there on the shore
And listened to this voice
Like I never heard beforeOur battles they may find us
No choice may ours to be
But hold the banner proudly
The truth will set us freeMy mind was called across the years
Of rages and of strife
Of all the human misery
And all the waste of lifeWe wondered where our God was
In the face of so much pain
I looked up to the stars above
To find you once again

We travelled the wide oceans
Heard many call your name
With sword and gun and hatred
It all seemed much the same

Some used your name for glory
Some used it for their gain
Yet when liberty lay wanting
No lives were lost in vain

Is it not our place to wonder
As the sky does weep with tears
And all the living creatures
Look on with mortal fear

It is ours to hold the banner
Is ours to hold it long
It is ours to carry forward
Our love must make us strong

And as the warm wind carried
Its song into the night
I closed my eyes and tarried
Until the morning light

As the last star it shimmered
And the new sun’s day gave birth
It was in this magic moment
Came this prayer for mother earth

[Reprise:]
The moonlight it was dancing
On the waves, out on the sea
The stars of heaven hovered
In a shimmering galaxy

A voice from down the ages
So in haunting in its song
The ancient stones will tell us
Our love will make us strong

What is the Phrygians? Initial googling reveals that Phrygian is a mode of musical notes. I am more familiar with Phryrians as a historical ethnic group. Wiki states

The Phrygians (gr. Φρύγες, Phruges or Phryges) were an ancient Indo-European people, initially dwelling in the southern Balkans – according to Herodotus – under the name of Bryges (Briges), changing it to Phruges after their final migration to Anatolia, via the Hellespont.

From tribal and village beginnings, the state of Phrygia arose in the eighth century BC with its capital at Gordium. During this period, the Phrygians extended eastward and encroached upon the kingdom of Urartu, the descendants of the Hurrians, a former rival of the Hittites.

Meanwhile, the Phrygian Kingdom was overwhelmed by Cimmerian invaders around 690 BC, then briefly conquered by its neighbour Lydia, before it passed successively into the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great and the empire of Alexander and his successors, was taken by the Attalids of Pergamon, and eventually became part of the Roman Empire. The last mention of the Phrygian language in literature dates to the fifth century CE and it was likely extinct by the seventh century.

My initial exposure to the Phrygians came from my reading about the ancient Greek and Roman history. Having been in Turkey (ancient Anatolia), I can remember standing there and looking at the beautiful blue sky. A particular stanza from the song resonates within me.

We wondered where our God was
In the face of so much pain
I looked up to the stars above
To find you once again

Sometimes we ask where God is in the face of so much suffering in the world, not realising that He is here all the time. He feels our pain and our sorrow. He suffers with us as the world drags its feet to the end of time.

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