View print-optimized version


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Today’s Hymn            

Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
Kum ba yah, my Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone’s crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s crying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone’s singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s singing, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

Someone’s praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
Someone’s praying, Lord, kum ba yah!
O Lord, kum ba yah!

“Kum ba Yah,” African American spiritual (tune: Kum ba Yah)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Reflection
We often consider this well-known spiritual song a hokey, complacent tune, but its origins stem from a unified cry for God’s intervention during some of the most horrific human experiences in our nation’s history. Contrary to common interpretation, it's not a campfire song reserved for idealists. It’s not something that should be dismissed. It's a vibrant prayer that God remain close to those oppressed and browbeaten.

I’ve participated in my fair share of protests, and each gathering echoed a handful of clever chants to make our message heard. Whether the words came from those truly experiencing the struggle or advocates like me, they were delivered with fervor and faith that something was unjust—someone needed to speak up.

Kum ba yah is a true call to action, but one that transcends the power and ability of human force. It gives hope to those crying out for God’s intercession to “Come by Here” in the name of justice and peace. It also nags at the oppressors who consider their power warranted and unbreakable.

The peace anthem is, in fact, idealistic. Its choir hopes and believes that a better world is possible, with God’s help. With the constant suffering we witness and hear about, we must remember that God calls us to create a better world. We are called to create heaven among us, but we cannot do that without God’s support and grace.

Prayer
God of peace and justice, be with us during our times of triumph and our times of distress. Our hearts long for your presence when the world isolates us and denies our humanity. Let us rest our trust in your power to heal and restore this broken world. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director, Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center


Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email