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Slow Me Down

The other day I was listening to the Folk Channel on Sirius Radio and an old spiritual was played, “Slow Me Down”. It brought back memories of my childhood, for I heard this song from time to time sung by the Winstanley Baptist Church Choir, of East St. Louis, Illinois. This was our family church, my parents sang in the choir, my grandfather was Head Deacon.

In my first parish, David and Becky White, were the first “new members” to join the Mayfield Presbyterian Church. Dave sang bass in a Barbershop Quartet that finished 2nd in the International Barbershop Quartet competition. They were quite good. Their home chapter of the Society for the Preservation of Barbershop Singing in America was in Saratoga Springs, New York.

We let them sing in church whenever they wanted. The first time I heard them sing at church tears flowed, as I remembered, pondered, and took to heart the words once again to this spiritual. Tears flowed again when I heard it the other day. While the author of these words are not known, tradition has it, it flowed from the tears of slaves, bound and chained in the living hell of American slavery, created by “masters” who beat into their souls the Christian faith.

Our spiritual ancestors, our brothers and sisters of the faith, oppressors and oppressed. The oppressed, singing, in slavery, asking the Lord to “slow them down” so they can care for another.

It’s about time, we all take time, to sing, and let tears flow.


Slow me down Lord, I am going too fast: I can't see my brother when he's walking past. I miss a lot of good things day by day; I don't know a blessing when it comes my way.

Slow me down, Lord I want to see More of the things that are good for me. A little less of me and a little more of you, I want the heavenly atmosphere to trickle through.

Let me help my brother when the going is rough: When folks work together life isn't so tough. Slow me down, Lord so I can talk With some of your angels. Slow me down, to a walk.

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