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Archive for the month “February, 2019”

Heaven On My Mind

The song “Georgia On My Mind” was not written by Ray Charles although when I heard him sing it I thought so.  It was actually written by the roommate of Hoagy Carmichael named Stuart Gorrell back in 1930.  It might have been originally written about the state of Georgia or it could have been written about a woman. In his second autobiography Hoagy cleared the picture.  Although he did have a sister named Georgia the song was written because his saxophonist named Frankie Traumbauer mentioned that he should write a song about the state of Georgia.  He also suggested some lyrics “Georgia, Georgia.” Whether it was written entirely by Gorrell or in a joint effort with Hoagy the song was written.  Although both guys lived in Indiana and never visited Georgia it would forever be associated with Georgia because of a Georgian named Ray Charles.
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Georgia on My Mind
Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)
I said Georgia
Georgia
A song of you
Comes as sweet and clear
As moonlight through the pines
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
I said Georgia
Ooh Georgia, no peace I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)
Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
Whoa, Georgia
Georgia
No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
I said just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind
Image result for ray charles picture
When I listen to the late Ray Charles recordings of his rendition it almost always brings tears to my eyes.  Ray was a world famous wonder with the way he could sing a song with feeling and beat.  He was also blind but truly he could see and feel in so many other ways.  Yet in all of his travels this song seems to indicate his love for his hometown and his feelings toward that heavenly place.  It isn’t a song with an abundance of spectacular descriptive words, but it is a song that when he sang it there was such a feeling of love for his great home.  There is something about a home that we all love.  It is more than just words it is something deep down in our hearts.  It’s hard to describe in words it is so powerful.  By just taking a few simple but meaningful words and singing it with such feeling Charles captured his thinking and longing for his home.
I remember a song we sang in church when I was young.  It was a hymn called “When We All Get To Heaven”, by Eliza Hewitt.  The lyrics went
  1. Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
    Sing His mercy and His grace;
    In the mansions bright and blessed
    He’ll prepare for us a place.

    • When we all get to heaven,
      What a day of rejoicing that will be!
      When we all see Jesus,
      We’ll sing and shout the victory!
  2. While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
    Clouds will overspread the sky;
    But when trav’ling days are over,
    Not a shadow, not a sigh.
  3. Let us then be true and faithful,
    Trusting, serving every day;
    Just one glimpse of Him in glory
    Will the toils of life repay.
  4. Onward to the prize before us!
    Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
    Soon the pearly gates will open;
    We shall tread the streets of gold
I remember that everyone sang this hymn with such feeling.  The spirit in the place was so happy as young and old truly felt the love of God.  In those moments I could tell that this was a song that captured our future home and our desire to be there.
Sometimes great songs are written by people without the experience of what they are writing about.  I am reminded of the song “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”  That song was written by Jack Haworth who saw a sign while riding on a subway in 1908 about a ball game to be played that day and by the time his ride was over a song was written.  He had never been to a ball game before.  The two artists who wrote “Georgia On My Mind” had never been to Georgia.  Yet they created the words that have become the state song.  Likewise most of us have never been to heaven.  Yet the words of the above hymn is in such anticipation of a great event.
Have you ever planned a vacation and dreamed about what a great time you will have?  You start dreaming about each and every event on the vacation and have a longing to be there.  As Christians that is how our focus should be.  We are here now but our future isn’t the here and now.   Someday we are going home.  Sometimes it is a thought and then a yearning as Ray Charles so beautifully stated in his song.
                                   “No peace, no peace I find
                                     Just an old sweet song keeps
                                     Georgia on my mind.
The beautiful thing is when we sing songs about Heaven be it slow, fast, rocky, or a hymn it is like that old sweet song.  We are keeping heaven on our minds and yearning for that wonderful trip.  Just an old sweet song keeps Heaven on my mind!
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