Monday, January 17, 2011

"Everybody has a right..."

"The price you pay for freedom,
might just be your liberty.
Everybody has the right
to be free...."

In this video, Bob Lucas', "Everybody Has a Right," is beautifully rendered by my "sister," Lisa.  Her voice pleads for individual and collective surrender.  It implores us to release our hold on the hearts, and lives, of others.  It speaks to what is inherently generous in us...and it is timeless.  It speaks to that which loves to watch butterflies, hummingbirds, a leaf carried on the river's song, geese in migratory flight .

It would have been hard for me to watch it, tonight, and not make the connection between it's message of liberty, and that of countless other freedom songs I've long loved.   From "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," to "We Shall Overcome," men and women of every race and color have employed music to share their cry for emancipation.

I remember standing on the steps of my high school in the late sixties and singing:

"Mine eyes have seen the glory
of the coming of the Lord...

In the beauty of the lilies
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom
that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy,
let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on."

We were just kids poised on the brink of a future, we were absolutely certain was the brim...with humanity's collective hopes for religious, racial, and gender freedoms.  Civil rights, women's rights, the right to worship, the right to vote...all these things were calling us forward.

Martin Luther King and the Kennedy brothers were our heroes.  And we really did think that we were on the verge of something so revolutionary, that the world would never be the same.  We had a dream...we still do.

Lisa's rendition of "
Everyone has a Right," reminds me of that gray January day. We were a rag tag group of long-haired teenage mini skirts, jeans, and fringed buckskin vests...singing the only freedom song we knew well enough to sing without hesitation .- we'd all memorized it in grade school.  We sang because singing united us in protest of all that seemed so unjust...a war, segregation, gender inequality in education, sports, business, finance, family.

Our plea was simple.  Please let us go.  Please release your hold on our lives' promise.  Please let us, and our brothers and sisters of color, have the freedom to...well, just be.  To be all that our hearts have desired, our minds have dreamed, and our hopes have propelled us towards.

Another "sister," Heather, reminded Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote:

"I refuse to accept the view, that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war, that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

I do too.  I believe, with all my heart, that "unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word," and we will all be free.  When we love someone...or many someones...we are selfless enough to yield our hold on their hearts, their lives, their dreams.   We rejoice in their liberty, we celebrate their independence, we delight in watching them pursue their God's inspired hopes.  We sing...

Still singing...

Kate Robertson, CS

[photo credit: Nathaniel Wilder 2010]

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