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"God of our weary years, God of our silent tears"-- James Weldon Johnson

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Source: Wallwritings


This blog has an internal statistics page which reports a daily compilation of the number of "visits" to the current posting. The same page also reports on visits to previous postings.

A few days ago I noticed a few "visits" to the January 20, 2009, Wall Writings posting.

That posting, entitled, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," began:

"After Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States, he delivered a stirring inaugural address that called on Americans to join with him in addressing the problems facing the nation.

"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily nor in a short span of time. But know this, America -- they will be met."

Further along in the 2009 posting, I added this about the inauguration:

"Obama's speech was followed by a benediction from 87-year-old [The Reverend] Joseph Lowery (above), from Atlanta, Georgia, whose opening words must have sounded familiar to the millions of African Americans in the crowd and around the nation.

"Lowery's prayer began with the third verse of James Weldon Johnson's hymn, 'Lift Every Voice and Sing,' which, since it was written in 1920, has emerged as the 'national anthem' of the African American community."

During these late summer weeks, as we await the closely-guarded news from the ongoing "peace talks" between Israel and Palestine, the third verse of "Lift Every Voice" appears even more relevant today than it was in 2009. Here are the words that begin the third verse:

"God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,

Thou who hast brought us thus far along the way;

Thou who hast by Thy might Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray."

James Weldon Johnson's words are significant today because pessimism surrounds the peace talks. Until we hear further from the negotiations participants, we must wait to see how the occupier and the occupied resolve, for the time being at least, how they will live together. 

It is in this time of waiting that I decided to set out on a journey that begins with Johnson's hymn. On the internet journey I followed a path that led to another eloquent African-American author, Alice Walker. Novelist and poet, Walker has written more than 30 books, the best known of which is her Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple.

In one of the speeches she delivered to a Palestinian audience during a visit to Ramallah, Walker described her encounter with Israeli border guards when she traveled from Amman to the West Bank by way of the Allenby Bridge.

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http://wallwritings.wordpress.com/

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)
 

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