Sister Joyce

Fidget fingers on the back row. An unassuming black lady hidden in a warm coat, a scarf swathes her neck, bow, and ribbon on a Christmas pudding felt hat. Aaron introduces Sister Joyce. She stands slowly and creeps to the front. Trembling hands. Her back to the audience. She cannot hold the microphone, crunched arthritic hands. Aaron has prepared for this and her mic stand awaits. Aaron points and reassures

“I’ll accompany on guitar that mic is working”

She turns, smoothes her overcoat and in a strong Jamaican accent but a weak voice:

“I come in the name of Jesus Christ….I want you to listen to the words listen for your soul ‘come walk with me’ ”

She then sings initially hesitantly but with increasing confidence and begins to act out the chorus.
If this is an English translation it’s not very good. These lyrics were learned a long time ago in sunny hills. The chorus is clear and loud

“You cannot walk alone”

Her arms above her head, no shaking just praise, firm fists to the firmament. A stronger voice fills a captivated church. The refrain again:

“You cannot walk alone”

A jig, stamping her foot, a toddler tantrum in exasperation. Her life depends on whether the audience understands this simple point. Some understand this could be her last Christmas. Some consider sadly this could be her last performance. Again stronger and clearer,

“You cannot walk alone”

Singing straight to the heart. Arms outstretched imploring, reaching. No need to grasp she has them. Shaking her head. Is she crying? Concludes speaking quietly,

“You cannot walk alone”

Everyone stands. Everyone claps. Some are in tears. The trembling hands return as she passes proffered palms down the aisle and slowly steps unaided back to her seat.


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