DayBreaks for 4/27/16 – He Whispers to Us
Stashed away in a drawer or box in many an attic, nearly forgotten, is a batch of old 33 and 45 rpm records from the ’50s and early ’60s. Worn and scratchy, long since outdated by the flashy digital technology of compact discs and .mpe downloads, these primitive vinyls were once the jewels of a great treasure trove. Elvis’ grinding out “Hound Dog,” Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ hiccuping “Peggy Sue,” Chuck Berry’s joyful hot licks in “Maybellene,” the Coasters’ slapstick tour de force “Charlie Brown,” the mournful “Tears On My Pillow” by Little Anthony and the Imperials, the impenetrable and probably scandalous “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsmen, and the teenaged gropings of the Paris Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me” — they are all there, and more.
Here and there in this dusty stack, one may find an occasional recording by the great blues master Jimmy Reed. A share-cropper’s son, Reed brought the throbbing harmonica-and-guitar-driven black rhythm-and-blues of the Mississippi Delta into the popular rock-and-roll mainstream. Maybe you and your high school friends, long ago fancying yourselves a budding rock band, would play and replay these recordings — “Big Boss Man,” “Bright Lights, Big City,” “Hush, Hush,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do” — trying to imitate Reed’s hypnotic rhythms on your cheap Silvertone electric guitars, attempted in vain to capture the pain-soaked cries of his mahogany voice in your too-tight, too-white, suburban throats.
However, in placing the phonograph needle again and again in the grooves of Jimmy Reed’s records, one could begin to notice something curious. If one listened very carefully, there could sometimes be heard, ever so faintly in the background, a soft woman’s voice murmuring in advance the next verse of the song. The story that grew up around this — and perhaps it is true — was that Jimmy Reed was so absorbed in the bluesy beat and the throbbing guitar riffs of his music that he simply could not remember the words of his own songs. He needed help with the lyrics, and the woman’s voice was none other than that of his wife, devotedly coaching her husband through the recording session by whispering the upcoming stanzas into his ear as he sang.
Whether or not this story is accurate, Christians will surely recognize a parallel experience. Jesus tells his followers that the role of the Holy Spirit is, in effect, to whisper the lyrics of the gospel song in the ears of the faithful. When Jesus was present, he was the one who instilled in them the right words, coached them through the proper verses, taught them the joyful commandments. But as Jesus approached his death, drawing near to his time of departure, knowing that the disciples would be on their own without him, that task is to be handed over to the Holy Spirit.
We are often afraid that we don’t know what to say, or that we’ll say something wrong…and so we say nothing at all. Listen for His whisper. Speak up what you hear Him say to you!
PRAYER: Help us be still enough to hear the whisperings of Your gentle Spirit and trust that He will give us what we are to say as we sing Your love song to the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.