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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Wilsor

The Ghost of Tom Joad

As we stride ever onward, now into a summer that promises to be one like we have never experienced before, we continue to take a moment each day with music. Throughout these next few months, look for some more offbeat choices, many more of your own community selections and comments, and as ever, a little injection of faith, hope, and love into your day.

Got a song you just love? Email to tell Jeff about it!


I don’t think it’s been very long at all since we last heard from Bruce Springsteen, but I decided not to care. In preparation for yesterday’s message from Bryce and Matthew 25, I went back and forth many times between the song I ended up singing, “By My Side” from Godspell, and this one. Drawing on Steinbeck’s classic The Grapes of Wrath, this song reveals a vision of an economic Dust Bowl that never ended. Forever on the road, the liver of the life described here sees no difference between what was and what is. How do you respond to this song?

Men walking along the railroad tracks Going someplace, there's no going back Highway patrol choppers coming up over the ridge Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge Shelter line stretching around the corner Welcome to the new world order Families sleeping in the cars in the southwest No home, no job, no peace, no rest Well, the highway is alive tonight But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Searching for the ghost of Tom Joad He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag Preacher lights up a butt and he takes a drag Waiting for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last In a cardboard box beneath the underpass You got a one-way ticket to the promised land You got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand Sleeping on a pillow of solid rock Bathing in the city's aqueduct Well the highway is alive tonight Where it's headed, everybody knows I'm sitting down here in the campfire light Waiting on the ghost of Tom Joad Now Tom said, "Mom, wherever there's a cop beating a guy Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air Look for me, Mom, I'll be there Wherever somebody's fighting for a place to stand Or a decent job or a helping hand Wherever somebody's struggling to be free Look in their eyes, Ma, and you'll see me" Well the highway is alive tonight But nobody's kidding nobody about where it goes I'm sitting down here in the campfire light With the ghost of old Tom Joad



Holy One, Help me to know what I can do.

We also lift up the following prayers shared during last Sunday's worship service:

  • For the return of the fears associated with COVID-10 and the Delta variant. People's stress levels are rising.

Even in our separation, God, help us to feel the deep delight of your love for all. Amen.

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