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Do, Lord

posted Feb 29, 2016, 8:27 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Feb 29, 2016, 8:27 AM ]
Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom… 

This scriptural passage from Luke 23:42 is probably the most well known Taizé chant we sing. But a paraphrased version of this passage was popular long before the Taizé community was formed in 1940…

Do, Lord, or, do Lord, oh, do remember me 
Way beyond the blue…

This phrase was frequently sung by slaves in a spirited tempo as they worked. The only way they could tell their stories was in song, although it was necessary to keep obvious messages hidden; their lives depended on that. So most of their spirituals had double meanings; besides an obvious religious one about their hope in heaven was an underlying one about their suffering on earth. Many songs were used as codes to notify the time and place of escape attempts or to convey "how to" instructions for the Underground Railroad.

Do, Lord wasn’t that overt. But neither was it just a plea of mercy. It was also a reminder to God of all the many indignities they endured. The more they suffered at the hands of their captors, the more they needed God to acknowledge their existence as humans. And it was sung as a reassurance of how much better their heavenly home would be than their earthly one.

It was first recorded in 1925 by the Garner Bros., long before Johnny Cash covered it in the 1950’s or Eva Cassidy’s was released in 2000.