Thursday, January 01, 2009

Take It To the Lord In Prayer

It is always in amazement that some people look on black people, at how religious they are. I mean it must be a curious thing to see black people so steadfast in their Christian belief and in a white God/Jesus, used for centuries as part of a strategy to subjugate them.

The thing that is missed most is that that these people often have no where else to go. For the last five centuries African peoples all over this world have been a people oppressed. They have seen much misery -sometimes of their own making. There has been no other place of refuge, no psychologist accessible or counselor affordable. No other option for sharing and laying down burdens, failures, trials and tribulations but with the Saviour, Allah or what have you.

For Africans in the America's this is especially pronounced. When they say "Take It to the Lord in Prayer", they really do mean it. For them there is nowhere else to go! Just a listen to African American gospel music is a study in inadvertent self counseling, self-treatment, self-healing. The gospel songs do not have to be written by them but they will be adopted and arranged to suit their special vocal stylings if the main theme is closely related to "... Lay{ing} Your Heavy Burden, Down By The River Side".

One of my all-time favourites is "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" penned by two white songwriters and voiced, adopted and popularized in the African American cultureby two black women Mahalia Jackson and Ethel Waters. Two women’s whose biographies read like bleak Greek tragedies.

His Eyes Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged

Why should the shadows come

Why should my heart feel lonely

And long for heaven and home

When Jesus is my portion

A constant friend is He

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches over me

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches me

I sing because I'm happy

I sing because I'm free

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches me

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know He watches

I know He watches

I know He watches me



Now that is powerful motivation to get up on days you don't think you can make it through the next minute. But knowing this you put one foot in front of the other and a smile on your face to make it through another day. Mentally and figuratively pushing back the shadows, the darkness or depression. Pushing through, to see a brighter day in spite of all the bleakness. Hmmmnn....POWERFUL!


Here is my favourite modern rendition of the song by Tanya Blount & Lauryn Hill.

video

Tanya Blount & Lauryn Hill: His Eye Is On The Sparrow



Another gospel powerhouse of a song that is a modern favourite in African-American circles is :"This Battle Is The Lord's" written by V. Michael Mckay and sung and popularized by Yolanda Adams.

This Battle Is The Lord's

There is no pain, Jesus can't feel

There is no hurt, that He can not heal

For all things work according to the Master's purpose and His holy will

No matter what are you going thru,

Remember that God only wants a chance to use you


For the battle is not yours, it's the Lord's

There's no sadness, Jesus can not feel

And there is no sorrow, that the master is not able and willing to heal


Remember that all things work they're not gonna be all good

But they're shall work according to God's purpose and his holy will

No matter what, no matter what you're going thru

Remember God sees all and he knows all

And all he wants to do is use you

For this Battle is not yours,
It's the Lord’s
!



Gerald Campbell: It is the Lord's

Here is young Gerald Campbell giving it his all. I don't know if he can relate to "no matter what you are going through" but he continues in the tradition of letting down all the pain at the feet of Jesus, taking it to the Lord in prayer. Self-Healing, Self-treatment, Self-determination? Hmmmnnnn......Not so foolish or quaint now is it? Rather you may now understand the function of Jesus, Christianity and gospel music in African culture, more so the African American culture. It is a matter of maintaining sanity and survival. WONDERFUL SELF-PRESERVATION