“Kumbaya,” also spelled “Kum Ba Ya,” is a well-known campfire song. I know I spent many happy Saturday nights around a campfire singing it as a child. Even those who couldn’t sing managed to catch on and make an effort.
No one really knows the song’s origin; in fact, there’s been some controversy surrounding it, as this article
points out. To me it was, and still is, a common song that I, personally, have used to bring people together.
This is number seven in my double strung experiments.
You will hear the melody played on zither, which has steel strings, and harmony on the lyre with softer, nylon strings. Notes of the melody and harmony echo each other at times. This is one of the many fascinating effects available on a double strung harp. As usual, it’s easier heard than explained, so I ask that you have a listen, and enjoy this peaceful arrangement!
When you feel broken, you can mend.
When you have fallen, take these wings.
They carry you on weightless strings,
For music is a trusted friend.
As notes and words and voices blend,
Your soul is free and mind is clear.
Your heart refuses now to fear.
In time your body knows the wealth
Of perfect love and joyous health
From Spirit’s music given here.
Charles H. Gabriel wrote this hymn in 1890. The melody is a tune he entitled “Mccabe.” With its march tempo and evangelical lyrics, “Send the Light” is one of the most popular missionary hymns of all time.
Personally, I marched down the church aisle as a child, singing what lyrics I knew with the rest of the congregation, during the Alabaster Offering. Alabaster is an offering specifically designated for building mission churches around the world and is participated in by many traditional Christian denominations. I don’t mind admitting that as a 3-5-year-old, it was more of a play break from the usual order of service. 🙂
As time passed, I, too, had an Alabaster Box containing whatever change I had to contribute. I put my little box inside the one shaped like a church building and marched back down the aisle to one of the 2 back pews that my parents, grandparents, siblings and I filled to capacity.
Besides the marching, the most memorable part were our pastor and a young man who played trumpets, and the 2 ladies who played piano and organ. Needless to say, the semiannual Alabaster Offering became a treat of sorts, that I still remember many years later.
I’ve come to realize that “Send the Light” is not all about money. It’s about sharing whatever you do, whatever you have (your time, talent, and treasure), and above all, whatever you are. It’s not for their conversion to your belief system, but for the love of other people. We are all God’s creations, whether we want to admit it or not. Because God loves each and every one of us equally, the same Presence within us can help us love ourselves and others as much, if we invoke the Spirit of Healing and Love to work through us.
I hope you enjoy hearing this hymn on lyre! More importantly, I pray you send your own light to those you know, those you love, and those you haven’t met yet! We are all eternally connected in the Light of God, and that will never change!