HYMN FOR EPIPHANY 5 Siyahamba! We are marching in the Light of God
Text: Zulu folk Tune: Zulu folk, arr. Anders Nyberg
We are marching in the light of God,
We are marching….
(For copyright reason the text cannot be put here, but you will find it at any of the links) below).
Salt and light. These are two images Jesus uses to describe the vocation of the Christian in the world. To season, to cleanse, to heal, is the work of salt. Light changes everything. While darkness fills us with fear (or gives us a place to hide), light chases away the shadows and we can see what is really there. In the dark, normal shapes like a bed or dresser can take on aspects of evil, lurking in the corners to attack us. Children call to us from their bedrooms for light, to be comforted and assured there are no monsters under the bed or in the closets or dark corners of the room.
Martin Luther knew this when he wrote his prayers for morning and evening. The evening prayer especially, in its petition to the Lord to send his holy angel to watch over us, has always been a comfort for the little child. And even for those of us growing long in the tooth. Send your holy angel, we cry out, when terror seems to take on shape in the darkness.
In this passage, Jesus sees us bringing God’s salt and light with us wherever we go and in whatever we do. We do this by our words and deeds. People can see in the work of believers who bring healing and comfort a light that shines from God. They can hear in the words they speak the truth a cleansing light the reveals the hobgoblins in the darkness to be toothless giants.
There are some who hate this light because it reveals their sin, the twisted and demonic ways they are going for their own advantage or the work of Satan himself.
There is a lot of darkness out there in our commonwealths today. Those who speak truth to power as the phrase goes risk a lot. But it is our calling to do so—in fact, as faithful followers of the light we cannot turn off this light switch. It is there shining even when we deny it, as Peter tried to do on Holy Thursday evening.
Even in his denial, Peter still seemed a witness to the light. When Jesus looked at him, his sin was revealed to him and he fled in shame and disgust at himself for denying what shone so fully before him even in the terror of the night. Early Christians, on telling the story of Peter, reported that for the rest of his life, every morning when the cock crew, Peter was reminded of his cowardly denial and wept bitterly once again for his sin. Now, however, he fled toward the light, the only place he could go to find relief--the strong medicines of salt and light--forgiveness, healing and wholeness.
This hymn has traveled the world since its arrangement by Anders Nyberg (b. 1955), a Swedish church musician who traveled with Fjedur, a group of Swedish singers to South Africa in the early 1980s. There they heard songs by South Africans as they were seeking to bring the light of truth to the nation plagued by apartheid. They produced an album called Freedom is Coming which contained many such songs and brought them north. They were premiered at the LWF Assembly in 1984 in Budapest. From there they
swept across the world and became part of global hymnody and are included in most main line hymnals today.
Angel City Chorale
Mississippi Baptist All State Youth Choir and Orchestra
Marianne Kim Music, jazz piano
Nouvel Album Chorale Sainte Familie (Congo Brazzaville)