Music for the Whirling Soul

Leonard Bernstein’s “Simple Song” is a rendering of Psalm 121. It also calls to mind “Blessed are the pure of heart” — the Beatitude from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. It’s music that calms my whirling soul among the clanging cymbals.

A Simple Song — The Bernstein Mass

Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 29, 2020.


Leonard Bernstein’s “Simple Song” from the Bernstein Mass describes the kind of purity of heart of which Jesus speaks in the Sermon on the Mount. It is a simplicity in accord with Views from the Edge‘s earlier post “America – In Search of Wisdom“: a singleness of heart that refuses double-minded or dualistic thinking and practice. “God is the simplest of all.”

A tenor soloist from the Knox Choir sang it at the 1983 worship service that officially installed me to the office of Senior Minister of Knox Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, which blessed me with its music for 11 years. The song, the soloist, and Knox Church will remain with me always.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August 16, 2015.