Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger

A traditional British folk song from the early 18th Century, Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger has been recorded by dozens of artists, including Burl Ives who used it as the almost title track of an album in the mid 1940’s. Other recording artists include Six Pence None the Richer, Dolly Parton, and Natalie Merchant.

Rob Alexander singing Poor Wayfarin' Stranger at Northland Church (August 2011)

Rob Alexander sang this song at Northland a couple of weeks back on a weekend when the music was stylistically folk and Joel Hunter’s teaching focused on our desire to find easy and quick solutions to the challenges of life. The slowness of the music stood in stark contrast to the frenetic pace of our lives.  We experienced in a few songs a slice of life that is often messy, usually meandering, and occasionally delightful.

Joel reminded us that God rarely sends us down the pathway of least resistance, but rather sends us on a journey that accomplishes His greater plan — which is not, no matter what we might think, our comfort. Am I the only one who finds deep comfort in my own growing understanding that there is way more to life than comfort and “more” and easy?  I think some of my love for folk (and its cousins bluegrass, blues, and country) music is that it’s more honest about both the challenges and the joys of life.

I linked to Northland Media’s recording of Rob’s rendition of this song above and offer this alternative version recorded by the Annie Moses Band — another favorite musical experience.


LYRICS from wikipedia:

I’m just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through, this world alone
There’s no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright land, to which I go
I’m going there to see my mother
I’m going there no more to roam
I’m only going over Jordan
I’m only going over home

I know dark clouds will gather o’er me
I know my way is rough and steep
Yet beautiful fields lie just before me
Where God’s redeemed, their vigils keep
I’m going there to see my mother
She said she’d meet me when I come
I’m just a going over Jordan
I’m just a going over home

I want to wear a crown of Glory
When I get home to that good land
I want to shout Salvation’s story
In concert with the Blood-Washed Band
I’m going there to meet my Saviour
To sing his praise forever more
I’m just a going over Jordan
I’m just a going over home

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