Steal Away Home

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Many slaves in America used music to help them deal with their problems and worries. And, through music, many expressed the Christian faith that gave them hope.

Following the American Civil War, this music gradually was discovered by a wider public. Many songs were introduced through a group of African-Americans from Fisk University, in Nashville, Tennessee. They were called the “Jubilee Singers,” because these “spirituals” often were called “jubilee songs.” As they traveled the world, listeners were amazed by their musicianship and moved by the message of these spirituals.

On this day in 1871, these singers brought their music to Oberlin College in Ohio. As the local newspaper reported, they sang with “remarkable effect.” But the mood deepened as they sang “Steal Away.” This spiritual, of unknown origins, expressed the heart cry of slaves who longed for the coming of the Lord—the day when their problems and worries would be over.

In his book about the Jubilee Singers, Andrew Ward describes how, that day in Ohio, the singers performed this “sublime anthem” with a beauty that stunned the audience. “Steal away,” they sang, “Steal away to Jesus. Steal away home. I ain’t got long to stay here.” They sang, “My Lord, He calls me. He calls me by the thunder. The trumpet sounds it in my soul.”

These were more than empty words. Here was truth, sung by people who really longed to see Jesus. The audience sat with “rapt” attention, tears rolling down many cheeks. They had been touched by God.

Today, many are not ready for the Lord’s return. But the Bible tells us that He is coming! Let the thoughts of that day give you perspective and peace. And ask God to open doors for you to share the Gospel. Still today, a weary world needs to know about Jesus.