Spirituals were originally an oral tradition that imparted Christian values while also describing the hardships of slavery. The term “spiritual” is derived from “spiritual song”, from the King James Bible‘s translation of Ephesians 5:19, which says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”Slave Songs of the United States, the first major collection of Negro spirituals, was published in 1867.The genre was also called “Sorrow Songs”, as in W.E.B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

Though Mahlia’s ‘I’m On My Way’ is not on the official list of spiritual songs, it definitely can fit in with the recurring theme of the struggle. There could be no stronger song to meditate on at this halfway mark of the first week of Lent. I think we all can relate to as we struggle with employment, COVID and the social behaviors around us.

If ever there were words could reach in to our soul these are those.

Mahalia sings:

Now if you don’t go, don’t you hinder me
If you won’t go, please, don’t hinder me
If you won’t go, don’t hinder me
On my way glory hallelujah
I’m on my wa

I had to pray so hard; Lord, I’m on my way
I had to pray so hard, but I’m on my way
I had to pray so hard, on my way
On my way glory hallelujah
I’m on my way

Haven’t we all felt like we had stumbling blocks in front of our spiritual path. Jesus was beaten, nailed to a Cross, bleeding, stabbed, cut, mocked, and tormented in the most cruel fashion, and here I am complaining about the train being late. It outs it in perspective rather quickly.

Lent is a time for us to prepare our hearts and bodies for the Easter season. Fasting is a biblical practice which we are required to do. Jesus and his disciples fasted, so we follow the example by fasting for 40 days, and 40 nights. During this season, you will face temptation and persecution, but remain strong in your promise to God. The vow to give up food, a bad habit, etc, is not just an empty promise, but an oath to God himself. That is a huge deal. Honor God cheerfully by keeping your oath to Him. Stay strong, my friends.

On a side note, in the next few weeks you will be hearing a great about the wonderful Mahalia Jackson. Check out her greatest hits this Lent. It will edify your soul and bring you in to deeper prayer.

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