I always find some inner conflict and incongruity when I recognize the beauty that can arise in the midst of sorrow, especially when that sorrow is inflicted by society. Nevertheless, it is a human trait to find strength and courage in the midst of hardship. Such is the beauty of this musical gift that comes to us from the African American heritage. "There Is A Balm in Gilead" is a well-known and well-loved Negro Spiritual. The text takes its origin from a cry of despair from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why, then, is there no healing for the wounds of my people?" (Jeremiah 8:22) Remarkably, the African American slaves turned the Old Testament prophet's cry of despair into a song hope, affirming that there is indeed a balm in Gilead.
[Note: This post originally appeared at The Music of the Spheres]