Be Still My Soul
Author: Katharina Amalia von Schlegel, 1697- ?
Music: Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957
Tune Name: Finlandia
God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
Themes: Peace, Confidence, Trust
Psalm 46:10 (NKJV) Be still, and know that I am God.
About a hundred years after the time of Martin Luther (1483-1546), Europe was in sad shape. The continent was racked by the Thirty Years’ War, which pitted Catholics against Protestants. The Lutheran church had lapsed into formalism and dead orthodoxy. People had stopped going to church. Then God raised up what is known as the Pietist revival in Germany, a movement that was characterized by music, personal holiness, and missionary zeal.
This movement was similar to the Puritan and Wesleyan movements in England. In the midst of this time of turmoil and discouragement, God stirred the heart of an outstanding Lutheran woman of this revival movement, Katharina von Schlegel noticed the verse in Psalm 46 that says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” As God spoke to her, she wrote this great hymn.