Sunday, February 5, 2012

Been in the storm so long

I’m reading Psalms—the Song of Ascents—and listening to African American spirituals. I put one of the songs on replay, playing it over and over again. It gives me the shivers. It’s the raw, powerful, mournful voice of a woman named Mary Pinckney singing I’ve Been in the Storm So Long. It’s an old field recording of the Gullah people on Johns Island, South Carolina. Mary Pinckney sings:

I’ve been in the storm so long.  
I've been in the storm so long.
I've been in the storm so long.
Oh, Lord, give me my time to pray.
I’ve been in the storm so long. . .

There’s a theme here, a theme that resonates through time from the Old Testament to the time of slavery to the present. God's people see themselves through troubles by lifting up their hearts to the Lord in prayer.

Psalm 121:

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
   From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
   who made heaven and earth.

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