O Lord, open my lips – 7 May 2018
Here is ‘Ruby Green Singing’ (James Chapin, 1928).
We join Ruby mid song. Can you hear her voice? What is she feeling and thinking as she sings? As you look at her, does a song rise within you? Is it a song of thankfulness and praise?
Ruby is shown to us as a singer and an artist. With nothing in the back or foreground, our attention is focused on her. She has strength and confidence, displayed through her posture. Her head is titled up and her mouth is slightly open, her hands are clasped as she stands to sing. Her face and body shine in the light, the source of which is not shown us, but we can see that it comes from somewhere above her. It could be a stage light, but the spirituality of this picture also suggests something heavenly.
Ruby is singing for others and for herself, but also for God. This picture is full of a quiet joy and praise. Her song is her prayer. What song do you think she is singing?
Ruby Green was part of the Harlem Renaissance that took place in New York in the 1920s. She was a graduate of the Julliard School of Music. A contralto, she worked on stage, in radio, and later television, with a repertoire that stretched from Gospel to opera.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
My lips shall praise you
My great redeemer
My heart shall worship
You’re the source of happiness
Bringing peace when I am in distress
You are the restorer of my soul