I’m taking a rest today from writing, and maybe it’s a good thing. Sometimes you don’t need any more words. Sometimes you need a song.
My United Methodist church sung this hymn today, and I remembered the hundred times I have sung it to myself. I sang it for the first time at Mennonite churches, but it goes back to the enslaved Africans who took hell on earth and turned it into music, into beauty.
I feel grateful to sing, “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me.” That a people before me had the grace and power to protest the suffering, to survive through singing. I feel grateful that I have another’s words to take upon my lips when I have none of my own. That when I have to give it all up, when it all is taken away, there is still a song.
Here are two versions for your Sunday. The one above is a choir. The one below is simply a woman singing, recorded in the field decades ago by Folkways Records.
If the words are no longer enough, then sing. Sing today, friends. Take the pain and turn it into music. And when you feel alone, look up and see the man of sorrows, the source of healing, walking beside you.