He Ain’t Heavy

Rev Deborah starts Peregrini Prayer each morning with a short story. It is always linked to the forthcoming bible reading and the theme for the day’s prayers. On Monday 19 July she told the story of Albert and Albrecht Duerer, which was followed by a reading from the Gospel of John, in which Jesus commands us to love each other as He has loved us, and that greater love has no one than to lay down his life for his friends; and we are Jesus’ friends if we do as He commands. Judith Murphy’s response to this in the comments was, “he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”.

Many of us will recognise Judith’s words as the title of the 1969 worldwide hit song for The Hollies. But where did Scott & Russell (the songwriters) get the words from?

Back in 1884, James Wells told in his 1884 book “The Parables of Jesus” the story of a little girl carrying a large baby boy. When asked if she was tired, she replied with surprise, “No, he’s not heavy; he’s my brother”.

The lyrics are:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where?
Who knows where?
But I’m strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go
His welfare is my concern
No burden is he to bear
We’ll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

If I’m laden at all
I’m laden with sadness
That everyone’s heart
Isn’t filled with the gladness
Of love for one another

It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share?
And the load
Doesn’t weigh me down at all
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

He’s my brother
He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

This is so relevant to us today, as we reflect on how we each coped with lockdown, relying and being relied upon, and continues its relevance as restrictions are slowly eased. Our brothers and sisters are those whom we love, those who we support, and those who support us. May these burdens always be light.

You can listen to The Hollies sing this song here: https://bit.ly/37DVuih and the recording of Tom and I made for our Staycation Songs of Praise is here.

Carol P

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