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Friday, March 16, 2007

Living in the Promise Land

Events of this week force upon my heart and mind thoughts of America and its cities and, even more, thoughts of the great "American experiment."

What, in fact, is the genius of this nation?

I believe the answer is found somewhere along the continuum of freedom, mutual respect, openness to change and a living commitment to authentic human community.

At one point this week, as I was buried in such thoughts, I heard Willie Nelson singing the lyrics of David Lynn Jones, "Living in the Promise Land." In its own way the song says it all.

There is history here.

There is hope and great promise here.

At the same time, there is a lingering question here.

Everything hangs on how we choose to answer the question together.
__________________________

Living in the Promise Land

Give us your tired and weak,
And we will make them strong;
Bring us your foreign songs,
And we will sing along;
Leave us your broken dreams,
We’ll give them time to mend;
There’s still a lot of love
Living in the promise land.

Living in the promise land,
Our dreams are made of steel;
The prayer of every man
Is to know how freedom feels;
There is a winding road
Across the shifting sand,
And room for everyone
living in the promise land

So, we came from a distant isle,
Nameless woman, faithless child,
Like a bad dream;
Until there was no room at all,
No place to come and no place to fall;
Give us your daily bread,
We have no shoes to wear,
No place to call our home,
Only this cross to bear;
We are the multitudes,
Lend us a helping hand;
Is there no love anymore
Living in the promise land?

Living in the promise land,
Our dreams are made of steel;
The prayer of every man
Is to know how freedom feels;
There is a winding road
Across the shifting sand,
And room for everyone
Living in the promise land.

And room for everyone
Living in the promise land.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Larry, this is a great way to bring up the question (or series of questions) that I have been asking myself for a while now. I see all the great things about America, at least what it promises to be for everyone, but even when simply questioning its effectiveness of connecting ideals and reality with other people, I am met with defensiveness over the freedom and hope offered here. The labels you entered at the end of the post (immigration and dev. opportunities) were definitely some of the things that came to my mind when reading the song lyrics, especially
“Bring us your foreign songs
And we will sing along”
Maybe if we translated the song to English… and
“…room for everyone
Living in the promise land.”
I suppose this line may hold a key to the question:
“Is there no love anymore
Living in the promise land?”
Thanks!
~LaShay

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU!
for posting posting these lyrics, I had a lot of trouble to find them anywhere.. for some reason... isn't the interenet cool... you helped me and I am a stranger in need of the comfort of these lyrics today.

Anonymous said...

I also listened to Willie sing "Living in the Promise Land" tis morning, went searching for the lyrics and found your blog.

What strikes me is how far we've come as Americans over the past 230 odd years, and yet, how very far we've yet to go to realize the American dream.