29 September 2008

For We Will Stand the Storm Together

by Anonymous

"We’ll stand the storm it won’t be long
We’ll anchor by and by
We’ll stand the storm it won’t be long
We’ll anchor by and by…"

What an amazing, tempest-tossed time in which we live! Between the financial crisis and the election/debate coverage it can be easy to forget to pray for Presbytery meetings let alone work toward 1000 Conversations…the waves are coming in sets.

In the midst of the chaos I find I cannot quite get this chant out of my head. It sounds somewhat like an African American spiritual meets Taize: it’s meditative yet sway-inducing. I take comfort in the Spirit of hope, community, and resistance in which the song was written. According to the composer, Bernice Johnson Reagan (formerly of Sweet Honey in the Rock), “The composition represents a unique musical expression of the myriad elements that inspired historical ‘life or death’ battles for freedom and survival, and which continue to sustain us in our ongoing struggles against oppression in contemporary times.” (www.bernicejohnsonreagon.com/projectsLD.shtml)

The song does not make promises it cannot keep. Chanting it will not guarantee calmer seas, a great spot to dock or what the final vote will mean. Today perhaps it is enough to know we are in the boat singing together and the same Spirit that creates us and sustains us will also guide us through by and by.

I searched in vain to find a recording to share so that these words might musically enter your soul, too. Instead, I invite you to repeat the words over and over; first reading them and then without looking so that the phrases can begin to wash over you, too. For WE will stand the storm together…[we hope and pray] it won’t be long…WE will anchor by and by…We’ll stand…

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