Thursday, February 24, 2005

Down to the River to Pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way !

O sisters let's go down,
Let's go down, come on down,
O sisters let's go down,
Down in the river to pray.

That’s a pretty old song. Many of us were reminded of its beauty when we heard Alison Krauss sing it on the sound track of ”O Brother, Where Art Thou!”

I don’t think it is old enough that Lydia and the other women with her would have been singing it as they went down to the river near Philippi, but wouldn’t it be cool if they had. It is the perfect song for that!

There are actually five verses to the song. The first, the verse above, invites sisters to go to the river. The second invites brothers, the third invites fathers; the fourth, mothers; the fifth sinners. It’s interesting to me that the sisters are invited first. I wonder if that choice had anything to do with the story of Lydia’s conversion to Christ in Acts 16.

Paul with his companions, including Luke, went down to the river because they knew that other people went down to the river to pray. Read Luke’s eyewitness account in Luke 16:13-15

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us. (NIV)

Did you notice that the people who came down to the river to pray were women? That is so typical! Women often lead the way, calling others to follow, in spiritual matters. Wives instruct their children, they encourage their husbands, and they grow themselves. And they do it without being prodded, preached at, and threatened with hell. Women are often more interested in the spiritual than men, very often.

Is there a woman in your life calling you “down to the river to pray.” Maybe it’s time to join the procession. That’s Life at Work!

1 comment:

JD said...

Great job, Richard.