Category Archives for "Negro Spirituals"
I got Shoes, You Got Shoes, All God’s Children Got Shoes, When I get To Heaven, Gonna Put on My Shoes, Gonna Walk, All Over God’s Heaven
Only the barest of necessities were given to the slaves by the slave master. Just barely something to cover themselves. They didn’t have a robe or shoes. Certainly the slave singer was not happy about that, but the singer saw past the present reality into God’s future. Seeing God’s future transformed the present moment of frustration into a moment of celebration.
We often think of the Christian life in terms of what God will give us materially. We hear preachers speak of food on the table and a house and a job. We hear about how God will make you successful on your job or take you to the correct job if you lose that one.
However, one of the greatest gifts God has given to you is that “something” that is within you. That “something” that guides and directs you. That “something” that tells pain to stand back. That “something” that keeps you stable in an unstable world. I can’t really explain that “something”, but God has placed this “something” within you.
Today as we seek to live the life of God, let us keep in mind this great gift that God has given to us which is simply this “something” within.
Sometimes the sick think of the blessing of God as a cure. Other times the one who has suffered job loss may see the blessing of God as getting that job back or finding a new one. In these cases the blessing is a reversal of fortunes. The blessing is God taking the problem and eliminating it.
But in our lives we often don’t get the cure. Sometimes we have to live with the diabetes till we die, sometimes we have to learn how to handle the migraines, and yes sometimes we have to learn how to manage with the arthritides. In addition, some of us may have to recognize that a new job may not be soon on the horizon and happy days may not be here again.
The good news is that God’s grace is not always characterized by a reversal of fortune, sometimes God’s grace is simply the power to keep on keeping on. In this spiritual, the slave looks into the eyes of the worse that the world can marshal against her and says simply “I’m still holding on.” “When my burden’s heavy…I shall not be moved.” I may have harder burdens than I even know of, but I won’t give up or give in. “If my friends forsake me…I shall not be moved.” Even if I have to stand up alone, I will stand up, just like that tree that is in the water, I shall not be moved.
The slave teaches us as we live in these last days of earth’s history that God’s grace includes simply the perseverance to just hold on.