If there is one traditional, folk song I would never tire listening to, that would be the “Wayfaring Stranger” or to the older variants, “ Poor, Wayfaring Stanger.”
Dating back to the late 1700’s, this tune has understandably lasted for decades with its evocative melody and reflective wordings. That goes to show that it is no illusion when people from all walks of life long for something beyond this present world.
Truth to be said, those of us who had surrendered our lives to our Lord Jesus should now deem ourselves strangers and pilgrims of this world. While we maintain our dual citizenship; one earthly and the other heavenly, there is no denying that our spirits strongly yearn for its real home. Like our patriarch Abraham and matriarch Sarah, we are mere travelers passing through in search of a better country. (Hebrews 11:16).
So as described in the song, we will keep on plodding; with patience and persistence. Though we could not leave our present lives unscathed and be pain proof, someday, there will be an end to this grueling journey. By then, we will have our permanent rest and the promise of being reunited with our loved ones who have gone ahead.
Aside from its meditative element, “Wayfaring Stranger” is influential as a rallying cry during revivals. Sang in a chorus, it could boost the morale of a gathered congregation. Any feelings of anxiety and self-pity will evaporate at the utterance of the lyrics. So to my fellow wayfaring strangers, do not lose faith. We are almost there.
Okay, I admit I am biased with this pick. I just could not help it when it is Emmylou Harris doing the cover. I love the subtle command she has in her voice.
Plug into her performance of “Wayfaring Stranger” in the 1980’s.
Emmylou Harris, gospel, Wayfaring Stranger
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