Syrian refugee children signal to onlooking media, from a camp set up by by Turkish Red Crescent in the town of Yayladagi in Hatay province.

Today I'm posting two songs that flow from my last few blogs on Steven Galloway's novel The Cellist of Sarajevo (here and here). The first is a piece for cello which was composed by David Wilde in honor of Vedran Smailovic, the cellist who performed during the Siege of Sarajevo, his instrument offering up a persistent prayer for peace. The work is entitled The Cellist of Sarajevo, a Lament in Rondo Form for Cello, and is performed here by Yo-Yo Ma. The second youtube clip is of the Albinoni Adagio, the composition that the fictional cellist draws strength and solace from playing. 

One of the powers of good literature, and of good music, is the ability it has to transport you from the place you find yourself to a different world. Although I was sitting comfortably in an upstairs study enjoying a beautifully calm September morning, as I listened to the notes of the cellist, connecting back through scenes in Galloway's novel, I found myself praying for those who are still caught up in the horror of war.

A Prayer for Peace by Maya Angelou, can guide you if you want to offer up a prayer yourself while listening to this music. Like the earth needs the rain, so the human heart constantly thirsts for peace. And so we pray for peace - for peace in nations, peace in communities, peace in our families, peace in our own hearts. We come with open hands and hearts to the borderless sea of substance and ask for what we need most - the gift of peace.

A Prayer for Peace
Maya Angelou

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence
during the hard and mean days.
For then we
have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence
during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have
with those who have less.

And thank you for your presence
during the Holy Days, for then we are
able to celebrate you and our families
and our friends.

For those who have no voice,
we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy,
we ask you to pour your love out
in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain,
we ask you to bathe them
in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask
you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed,
we ask you to shower upon
them the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless
sea of substance, we ask you to give to
all the world that which we need most—Peace.