Farther Along vs Jah Say No! Reality check
By Devon Dick
RECENTLY, THE Jamaica Theological Seminary hosted a lecture given by Dr Omar Davies, cabinet minister, in which he compared a traditional hymn, Farther Along with a reggae song of Peter Tosh, Jah Say No.
Davies has published on the music of Tosh. Other persons, such as renowned literary scholar Carolyn Cooper in Sound Clash and poet Kwame Dawes in Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius, have analysed the lyrical content of reggae artistes .
Davies' lecture was groundbreaking in that he compares a Christian hymn with a Rastafarian song. Davies asserts that Farther Along represented the frank lamentation of a Christian, confused at what he considered as the unfair treatment meted out to 'believers', as compared to the 'wicked'.
In this six-verse hymn, Davies sees "(i) resentment, (ii) despair, and (iii) hope in the afterlife".
Farther along, we'll know more about it,
Farther along, we'll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We'll understand it all by and by.
Davies is enamoured with Jah Say No which reveals a fundamental difference in the view about life of believers here on earth and the intervention and protection of the Almighty.
Davies opines that compared to the resentment which characterises much of the lyrics of Farther Along, Jah Say No provides reassurance to the righteous that Jah will not allow his believers to endure unfair suffering.
However, not so fast Dr Davies.
On that same Sunday, retired Deputy Superintendent of Police Denzil Boyd in a "shameless, heartless and senseless act" was murdered at his gate subsequent to leaving church.
Farther Along is a far more realistic assessment of the realities of life than Jah Say No.
The Rev Dr Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.