Weekly Uplift – Singing Out

In the 1950’s, Paul Robeson, celebrated singer, entertainer, athlete, and political activist, was continually challenged for his views. His passport was confiscated in a dispute with the U.S. government. He was asked to sing in Canada. He was denied access to Canada because he did not have a valid passport, and so he sang out from the United States side . . . into Canada. Thousands attended this concert on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.

This act of a regular, ordinary man with a gift . . . this act of standing up for one’s views and one’s sense of what is right and best in the world . . . this act of courage of singing into a different land was immortalized in a poem by the poet Naomi Shihab Nye:

Cross that Line, Naomi Shihab Nye

Paul Robeson stood

on the northern border

of the USA

and sang into Canada

where a vast audience

sat on folding chairs

waiting to hear him.

He sang into Canada.

His voice left the USA

when his body was

not allowed to cross

that line.

Remind us again,

brave friend.

What countries may we

sing into?

What lines should we all

be crossing?

What songs travel toward us

from far away

to deepen our days?

Into what countries is God directing you to “sing out?” 



Pastor Doug

Leave a Reply