I was recently reminded of a piece of music “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the film ‘The Mission’. After listening to the music again for the first time for a few years, I felt I needed to remind myself of the story behind the film, ‘The Mission’.
‘The Mission’ is a 1986 British film about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th century South America. The film is set in the 1750s and involves the Jesuit Reductions, a program by which Jesuit missionaries set up missions independent of the Spanish state to teach Christianity to the natives. It tells the story of a Irish Jesuit priest, Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), who enters the South American jungle to build a mission and convert a community of Guaraní Indians to Christianity, and of the eventual destruction of the missions by the secular Spanish and Portuguese colonial governments.
Nearly all of the film is a flashback, shown while Papal emissary Cardinal Altamirano (Ray McAnally) is dictating a letter to the Pope detailing what happened. One of the first scenes is the martyrdom of a Jesuit missionary. The unnamed missionary is lashed to a cross by the Guarani Indians who live above the spectacular Iguazu Falls, and the cross is placed into the river and sent over the falls. His martyrdom inspires the gentle Father Gabriel to scale the hazardous falls and reach out to the tribe. Entering the Guarani’s jungle territory, Father Gabriel sits and begins to play his oboe. Drawn to the sound, the Guarani warriors prepare to kill him, but captivated by the beauty of the music they allow him to live and he gently and gradually wins their trust.
The music “Gabriel’s Oboe” was written by Ennio Morricone, and after a bit of searching I found that there were no official lyrics written for the melody, however several people have written their own lyrics. The lyrics I found that fitted best with the haunting melody, and the theme of the film, were are translated into English as follows:
In my fantasy I see a fair world, Where everyone lives in peace and honesty. I dream of a place to live that is always free, Like a cloud that floats, Full of humanity in the depths of the soul. In my fantasy I see a bright world Where each night there is less darkness. I dream of spirits that are always free, Like the cloud that floats. In my fantasy exists a warm wind, That breathes into the city, like a friend. I dream of souls that are always free, Like the cloud that floats, Full of humanity in the depths of the soul.
When we think of a missionary we tend to think of someone who has committed their life to serve God, and who is now overseas, working far from home. But God classes all of us who have given their life to Him, as missionaries because He has a mission for each of us – He needs us to help extend His Kingdom and bring others into a relationship with Him.
God may want some of us to serve as missionaries in a foreign land, while other of us He will use just where we are. I pray today that whatever the mission God has planned for each of us, that we will accept His mission for us, regardless of where that may take us. I pray that by accepting God’s mission, we are able to bring others into a relationship with Christ.
I hope you are blessed by this arrangement of “Gabriel’s Oboe from The Mission”, and that the lyrics I’ve shared above might enhance the music as you listen to it being played by Amsterdam Staff Band.