Just pretend a moment—you a Southern slave in the early 1800s. You get a decent master, you treated reasonable. You a woman, you might nanny the young’uns, cook, sew, or be midwife. You a man, you work long and hard outdoors—farming, picking cotton, livestock—no matter how hot. You get a house, plenty corn and rice, and they don’t mind you God worshiping.
If Massa a bad man, you got no more rights than a broom. You just property. You do what you’re told or get whipped, branded, maybe killed. Your chill’uns or wife can be sold; you get raped, the law don’t help. Try running away, your foot might get cut off.
Sunday, though—your day off.
Slaves worshiped. They sang—songs reflecting their miserable lives and looking for Something Better.
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin’ for t’ carry me home;
A band of angels comin’ after me,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUigewOnjFY Robert Robinson
I got shoes, you got shoes, all God’s children got shoes
When I get to Heaven goinna put on my shoes
I’m gonna walk all over God’s Heaven.
Soon a-will be done wit de troubles of de world
No more weepin’ and a-wailin’.
I want t’ meet my Jesus;
I’m goin’ t’ live with God.
My home is over Jordan.
Deep River Lord.
I want to cross over into campground.
Slavery—a terrible business, but it gave us heart songs.
DID YOU KNOW, THOUGH, that slavery is still Big Business? Today, this country alone has 400,000 slaves, with 45 million worldwide—forced labor, sex work, marriage, organ harvesting. Enough said. Sin hasn’t changed much over millennia, BUT our King of Heaven holds out redemption—or certain judgment.
You. You the slave of 1822—or of 2022. I see you with God’s eyes. He has a special mansion, a special banquet, with deep, healing love for all you Singers of Songs.
Jesus—Light in a very dark world. Your thoughts below, or email@example.com
Fix me, Jesus, fix me. Fix me for my starry crown. Fix me, Lord, for my journey home.
Fix me for my dying bed.
Fix me, Jesus!