Thursday, November 21, 2013

Seeking safe haven

I occasionally get involved in community theater, and this week I was given a role that includes the singing of an old gospel hymn I hadn't heard before.  So I've been spending time learning it, and I find it very moving. 

The sentiments it expresses, I suspect, lie at the root of a lot of the faith we encounter -- in others, and in ourselves. I'm not necessarily saying that's a good thing, or even true.  But perhaps because of my recent time in Iowa, and the devastating storms that have just hit the midwest and the Philippines, and because I've just finished reading Wendell Berry's classics, Jayber Crow and Hannah Coulter, it resonates.  Because the song implies both a life of misfortune and a trust that all will come right; that a safe haven lies somewhere ahead,  it touches my heart.  It's called "Farther Along."

Tempted and tried, we're oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all, by and by

Faithful 'til death, said our loving Master
A few more days to labor and wait
Toils of the road will then seem as nothing
As we sweep through the beautiful gates

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