By Christopher Simon

Wayfaring stranger

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”        ~ Hebrews 11:1 NIV

If you’ve never heard the American folk song Wayfaring Stranger, you owe it to yourself to look it up. My favorite version is the one sung by Charlie Haden, but there are many beautiful versions. The song is very meaningful for anyone who is facing death or who has ever lost someone who they love.

The first verse laments “I am a poor wayfaring stranger, wandering through this world of woe. And there’s no sickness, toil, or danger in that bright world to which I go. I’m going home to see my father. I’m going there no more to roam. I’m only going over Jordan, I’m only going over home.” You can’t hear this song and not be moved, for those we’ve lost we long to see again, and this is the great hope for all of us, to see our families once more. Would any of us really want to go to heaven if we wouldn’t see our families there?

This song also reminds us of how many poor wayfaring strangers there are in the world today! And how many of them are kept from seeing loved ones because of borders and barriers set up by governments, who often seem to not consider the human cost of keeping families from seeing each other.