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BLOW UP THE BRIDGE OVER TROUBLING WATER A Time to Heal
Civil Rights puts Spotlight on Racism
Why build a bridge or a barrier over something good, and something that is meant to heal? Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech in Memphis at Mason Temple, Church of God in Christ was significant because it described the spiritual state of our nation and our world, in our time, in history; juxaposed against a backdrop of great heroes and villians throughout history. King said, "I would turn to the Almighty, and say, If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century, I will be happy. Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way .. in some strange way." Strange indeed, one day after this speech, King was slain and the next year Paul Simon wrote "A Bridge over Troubled Waters" which was covered by major recording artists, at that time who were most influencial in their genre.
The civil rights movement was a bold process that sought to heal America from the old wounds of inequality between white people and black people.
The Biblical account of the lame man reads "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had" (John 5:4). Civil Rights was the right season to perform healing on America and its institutions, the same country that supported the unmanifested liberties of a portion of its citizens. Water represented an erasure of racism and the healing was the process of change from this baptism. After King's death the nation's wounds were reopened and instead of heeding his warning for healing that called all to stand together in brotherhood, Americans were told to lay down and build a bridge over that which heals (the troubling water represented the unity of all Americans). A Bridge over troubled water was a popular chant pop sensation Simon & Garfunkel crooned. Simon reportely at the moment when he performed it at a 1972 Madison Square Garden benefit concert said the performance was "almost biblical." An empathsis on almost should be understood. This song did not represent anything biblical nor support the paradigms of King, Kennedy, Lincoln, Jefferson or Washington but was an means to exploit what many have died for and to make money. Ironically, "part of the song was first heard by a national audience on November 30, 1969, when it was included in the soundtrack of a one-hour TV special by CBS called Songs of America. The music appeared in the background of a clip with John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr."
IN GOD WE TRUST
This once was far-fetched, but without God; How can America stand proud and walk upright? Society needs to be emerged into tumultuous water in order to bring healing to the land. While the generation of the post-sixties era popularized a barrier needed for the healing of the nations, the ground work was laid to remove the motto “In God We Trust” permanently from the soul of our nation thus making the United States of America available for annihilation, as history never fails to repeat itself.
ARISE AMERICA, HEAL THYSELF
The Scripture says that “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had” (John 5:4). Four verses later within the context of this same scripture Jesus spoke to a lame man saying “Rise take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8). Today Jesus is saying the same thing Rise take up your bed and walk, He did not say, lay me down. In the early seventies society embraced the chant “Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down” (Simon & Garfunkel). The problem was that the sons and daughters of the generation of WWII veterans laid down after the Civil Rights Movement as the popular song suggested. The King James version says “whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had” (John 5:4).
The King James Version use of the word troubling in the instance of stirring water at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem was something that crowds of sick people, blind, lame or paralyzed hoped for. The popular tune took the positive soundness of virtue exhibited by John in his Gospel, at the Pool of Bethsaida and conveyed the term troubling into a bad thing. The song, ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’ coupled the words trouble and water together made the implication that protection from such a thing should be made; however, the need to emerge in troubling water is Biblical and significant. "This song's recording process exposed many of the underlying tensions that eventually led to the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel after the album's completion." Proving that this hit was the Devil's cut.
STILL WATERS RUN DEEP
During the season of healing, American society was told to build a bridge over restoration and lay down or submit to a dis-ease in society. Keeping the status-quo, the norm and the tranquilizing drug of gradualism became a covert cry of popular musicians such as Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston who all have re-issued a call to build a bridge over troubled water and lie down. Their voices where heard loud and clear by a nation scarred by the sharp, chaotic roots of racism; slavery, oppression and inequality. They encouraged the masses that "all was well" and did not themselves proceed with caution as America was rupturing with old woulds. This chant attacked civil rights in a way that was subtle and un-erringly popular. While America recovered as from a surgery, it was the Civil Rights Movement that sought to extract the cancer of institutional racism that affected countless generations of Americans since the 18th century.
By placing a bridge over the thing that provides healing for the nation, immobilization took place within the masses which kept people paralyzed by their circumstances and culturally we lept from a cooling frying pan and into a blue flamed fire.
Fortunately the spirit of America as it moves forward shall never again fully embrace the lunacy of racism as before and singers and musicians who sang gracefully to build this bridge at the end of the day needed to delve into this troubled water themselves.
"I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so." Hill posted a statement to her official Tumblr account (4/13).
What is the essence of a tragic life?
Great songs are accompanied by melodies from heaven and begin when one's soul becomes reconciled to the Creator. Some of these songs have lasted thousands of years. Many succeeded and many failed but if we are singing their songs today I like to think that they have succeeded. Even when a tragic life is remembered it becomes instructional to the ones that come afterward by creating victory, for the wise, who learn from the tragic failures of others. It is truly a tragedy to repeat a tragedy. Change is exclusively beneficial when one prevents the repetition of a reoccuring tragedy. Consequently, it is tragic for a heroic life once lived to be forgotten; dropped from the pages of history, removed from the sculptures & pillars, the adornments of culture and spewed out of the mouth of society. This may be the case of many martyrs who made good progress but are like the man that Solomon spoke of who saved the city but was forgotten (Ecc. 9:15). I would like to believe that these are ones who are in sync with the heart beat of God. These become his cherished possessions His vessels of honor. His keepsakes are separated from the class and left alone only to by lifted by the hand of God.
Our challenges today have accelerated to a speed that conforms to the lightening speed of the changing world around us. Challenge today mainly consist of efforts to survive as one commits to live holy and in sync with God, regardless of contrary voices. Correction become essential because it may be your voice that is out of sync in a holy choir. Use your melodious song to uplift someone else.
© 2012 Reginald Boswell