No Room At The Inn

Building from Pops Staples' incantatory, heavy-reverb electric guitar lines, and raised up by the tight vocal harmonies of his children, this slowed-down version of "No Room At The Inn" from The Staple Singers is about as deeply rooted in the eschatological and prophetic traditions as any Advent song.

It also fits neatly with the Ignatian practice of reading and praying the scriptures, as the narrator vividly imagines---in her own Jim Crow context---the scene from Luke 2:7 ("Well, there was the bellboy, the porter, and the waitress and the maid and the cook") and places herself in it, not just as a passive observer but as an active participant:

    "I'm gonna be there (a witness);

    In that great judgment day, when we all hear them say how they drove poor Mary away;

    They had no room at the inn; they had no room, had no room….

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Luke Hill is a writer and community organizer in Boston. He blogs at dotCommonweal and MassCommons. 

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