We live in a Stream of Consciousness world. One idea leads to another, and that to another, and that to still another. A few minutes of letting the mind wander and you've gone down another rabbit hole on Wikipedia. It's all perfect for those who are easily distracted.
This past Monday was Martin Luther King Day; a day set aside to remember a man who challenged our nation to be better. Some commentators noted, but many did not, that he was a Christian pastor, that his faith formed everything he did, and that when he formed an organization he named it the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
On Facebook I learned (yes, sometimes the words "Facebook" and "learned" can be used in the same sentence) that Dr. King's favorite song was "Precious Lord."
I love it, too, so off to Wikipedia I went. I was reading things that I probably should have known already. Not knowing them, I'd read them Monday.
"Precious Lord" was written by Thomas A. Dorsey, not to be confused with Tommy Dorsey. Our Thomas Dorsey was the son of a pastor and a piano teacher. Hmmmm, so how did he become a writer of great Gospel music?
"Precious Lord" is a beautiful piece of music. As good as it is, its back story is even more powerful.
Dorsey was about to leave town to participate in several days of revival meetings. Nettie, his pregnant wife, was asleep in bed. Dorsey, preparing to leave, looked at her and felt that something was wrong. He ought to stay. But he also felt that he'd made a commitment, so out the door he went.
While he was serving at the revival someone handed him a note. Nettie had died suddenly, but their child was alive.
Dorsey rushed home. The child died two days later.
He was angry at God, feeling abandoned, and deeply grieved. What was he supposed to do now?
While in that frame of mind a melody came to him. He sat down at a piano and worked on it. Then came the words.
Precious Lord, take my hand, Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, Lead me on to the light.
Take my hand, precious Lord; lead me home.
That was 1932. Dorsey lived until 1993. His songs have touched millions, but none quite so much as "Precious Lord."
YouTube has many renditions of this powerful song. Everyone ought to see Mahalia Jackson sing it.
In His Service,