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Lead Kindly Light

In the Dominican Republic, where we served our mission, there’s a beautiful, limestone cavern called The Cave of Marvels. The underground, half-mile path winds through stunning rock formations and ancient Indian rock paintings. To preserve the colors, the lights in the cavern must remain off as much as possible. So, the developers installed timers to turn the lights off behind you, and motion sensors to turn them on ahead of you. If you keep walking, you will remain in the light, but if you stop, the lights turn off, and you find yourself in complete darkness. Underground, in an enclosed cavern, the darkness is absolute, even at noonday in the tropics. But if you take a step or two into the dark, the lights come on. Then you can see the path ahead, and the marvelous colors that give the cavern its name. Now, that’s faith. Sometimes, you have to take a step or two into the dark before you can see the path ahead. I always think of The Cave of Marvels when I hear this song, or play it.

Lead Kindly Light is in the public domain, and is well-beloved by Christians of all stripes. Play it slowly, with a lot of expression. The link actually contains two versions. The first is mostly strummed, with a few single notes to bring out the melody, and is very easy to play. The second version is pattern-picked. I like to play them as two verses, or even as three by repeating the first verse at the end. The F chord in the last line of the second verse should be slow-strummed. I like to use a flamenco strum: strum all six strings with all four fingers of the right hand, little finger first, then ring finger, middle finger, and index finger, in rapid succession, with the accent on the index finger. Rotate the hand while doing this, so it comes out as a single, long strum. It takes practice. This song also sounds good when played on the autoharp, or when played as a duet with flute, clarinet, or violin.

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