“He got up walking like a natural man…”

7 Apr

Today, the day before Palm Sunday (Orthodox Easter is April 15th this year) is known as the Saturday of Lazarus in the Orthodox Church, the day that commemorates Christ’s raising of his friend Lazarus from the dead, prefiguring his own Resurrection.

The Resurrection of Lazarus, Guercino

And here’s Aretha Franklin’s incomparable rendition of the old gospel song: “Mary Don’t You Weep,” which commemorates the story of Lazarus and the Passover story as well.  Below are the lyrics (“If you hadda been here, my brother woudna died…” always kills me) and the history of this spiritual which dates from before the Civil War, as its moving conflation of the two tales of redemption would indicate: 


(Choir) Oh oh mary (x8)
(Soloist) Mmm don’t moan
Listen Mary

(Choir) Oh Mary don’t you weep
Oh Martha don’t you moan
Oh Mary don’t you weep
(Soloist) Tell your sister to don’t moan
(Choir) Oh Martha don’t you moan

(Soloist) Pharaohs Army
(Choir) Pharaohs army
(Soloist) All of them men got drowned in the sea one day
(Choir) Drown in the Red Sea
(Soloist) Yes they did

(Soloist) Now if I could
(Choir) If I could
(Soloist) If I could I surly would
(Choir) Surely would
(Soloist) I’d stand right up on the rock
(Choir) Stand on the rock
(Soloist) I’d stand right where moses stood
(Choir) Moses stood
(Soloist) Yes I would

(Soloist) Pharaohs army
(Choir) Pharaohs army
(Soloist) I know you know that story of
how they got drowned in the sea one day, oh yeah
(Choir) Drown in the Red Sea

(Soloist Lazarus Story Ad-lib)

We gonna review the story of two sisters
Called mary and martha
They had a brother
Named Lazarus
One day while Jesus was away
Their dear ol’ brother died, yeah yeah
Well now Mary went running to Jesus
She said, “Master,
My sweet lord!”
“Oh if you had’ve been here my brother wouldn’t have died!”
Oh yes she did.
Jesus said, “come on and show me, show
me where you, show me where you buried
him, show me where you laid him down!”
And when he got there, Jesus said,
“For the benefit of you who don’t believe,
Who don’t believe in me this evening!
I’m gone call this creature, oh yes I am!
He said “Lazarus, Mmm Lazarus,
Hear my Hear my voice! Lazarus!
Oh yeah!”
He got up walking like a natural man,
oh yes he did! Jesus said,
“Now now now,
Mary, Mary don’t you weep!”
Mmm Oh mary don’t you weep
Go on home and don’t you and your sister moan. Don’t moan.
Tell martha not to moan

(Choir) Pharaohs army
(Soloist) Because you see Pharaohs army,
(Choir) Drown in the red sea
(Soloist) they got drowned in the Red Sea

(Soloist) Oh Mary don’t weep
(Choir) Oh Mary don’t you weep (x3)
(Soloist) Mary dont weep
(Choir) Oh Mary don’t you weep
(Soloist) Mary don’t weep
(Together) Tell Martha don’t you moan

 

Comment: nikobakos@gmail.com

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