Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 24 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Sharbel Makhluf
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Remember the ‘Wayfaring Strangers’ this Thanksgiving

J-P Mauro - published on 11/28/19

This 18th-century gospel hymn is still relevant today.

Happy Thanksgiving Aleteia readers!

It’s easy to see why the Christmas season is kicked-off on Thanksgiving, as this holiday is all about giving thanks for what we have and thankfully giving to those in need. Each year, communities around the country gather millions of pounds of food in shelters, food banks, non-profit organizations, and schools in order to ensure that everyone can partake in the feast.

As we gather around the Thanksgiving table to give thanks for all that we have, our minds may naturally turn to those who have fallen on hard times. It is important to remember these people in our prayers. After all, as Saint Teresa of Calcutta taught us:

Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; this is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.

With this in mind, we bring you “Wayfaring Stranger,” a song which perfectly captures the desperation of those who have nothing, as well as the faith which can abound even when circumstances are dire.

I am a poor, wayfaring strangerTraveling through this world aloneAnd there’s no sickness, toil or dangerIn that bright land to which I go

Ed Sheeran gave this incredible live vocal in 2011. He sings the whole song a cappella, using a loop pedal to record the harmony vocal lines before singing the tune. Halfway through he uses a moment to make the harmony a little more intricate, but we especially liked how he sang the final chorus unaccompanied. As the tune is about a person who is alone in the world, with little to look forward to beyond the next life, this one-man band performance is a fitting arrangement of this timeless song.

“Wayfaring Stranger” may be the perfect anthem for those who live on the streets, practically forgotten by society. Just as these people live in relative obscurity, the author of “Wayfaring Stranger” is unknown. Nor is it known exactly how old the song is, but it is estimated to have been sung for more than 200 years.

If you’re looking for a more standard version of “Wayfaring Stranger,” it doesn’t get much better than Johnny Cash. Take a listen below to have the “Man in Black’s” rumbling baritone voice bring you to tears.

Christian MusicHymn
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Kathleen N. Hattrup
2 Bible verses when you’re weary down to the soul
John Burger
Alumni sue after this Catholic saint’s name was removed fro...
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
5 Questions (and answers) about Pope Francis’ changes to La...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.