Down by the Riverside

I adore the energetic refrains and the soulful effect of a good gospel melody.  The blend of African rhythm with the English language, and the difficult season of prayer and worship which was the era of the slave plantations in America gave rise to extraordinary songs and hymns.  Some were songs of emancipation and freedom in spiritual as well as physical senses.

This is a prayer for peace from the tired bodies and the continual fighting which can plague the human condition.  In heaven we will stop learning how to fight, and we will cease from disappointing the Lord – or ‘grieving’ the spirit of God.  It is a camp fire song, a spiritual, a gospel song, a hymn and a prayer.

Elvis Presley was by no means the first to record this song – there are copies as early as 1920 – known originally as plantation melodies.  Every time I sing it I am touched with a longing for heaven and an end to the struggle.

Gonna lay down my burden,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside.
Gonna lay down my burden,
Down by the riverside,
Down by the riverside.

Chorus:
I ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no More

Aint gonna grieve my Lord no more,

Aint gonna grieve

My Lord no More

I ain’t gonna grieve my Lord no More

Aint gonna grieve my Lord no more,

Aint gonna grieve

My Lord no More

 

Gonna lay down my sword and shield
Down by the riverside…

Chorus

Gonna try on my long white robe
Down by the riverside…

Chorus

Gonna try on my starry crown
Down by the riverside…

Chorus

Gonna put on my golden shoes
Down by the riverside…

Chorus

Gonna talk with the Prince of Peace
Down by the riverside…

Chorus

Gonna shake hands around the world
Down by the riverside…

 

Categories: Psalms, Hymn of the Week

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