In Galatians 5:22 we learn that love, joy and peace are among the fruits of the Spirit, fruits which the Negro Spiritual I've Got Peace Like a River compares to water. Oftentimes the human quest for love, peace and joy are found at the end of challenging journeys. This was certainly the case for the dedicatee of this piece, Barbara Rogers, who traveled the very painful pathway of cancer which ended her earthly life. This arrangement deals with just such a road as this, where peace, love and joy can sometimes seem just out of reach. This is underlined by the treatment of the melody in a minor key midway through the piece. After a somewhat victorious final verse, the music pauses, then quietly concludes with the melody in the treble reflected upside down below in the tenor. It is as if to say that those who finally meet the Creator face to face, like Barbara, at last know perfect peace, love and joy, while we on earth continue to seek those precious, sometimes elusive fruits.
Voicing: 3, 4 or 5 octaves handbells and optional 3 octaves handchimes
Tune source: PEACE LIKE A RIVER (African American spiritual)
Arranger: Fred Gramann