Thinking Anglicans

No Depression

My favourite Radio 3 programme is Late Junction. Last Thursday, on the last programme of the year, they played the Carter family singing “No Depression in heaven”. This song from 1936 is suddenly relevant again in our current economic gloom, and depicts the great depression as a sign of the end times and heaven as an alternative to hunger and want. The chorus goes:

I’m going where there’s no depression
To a lovely land that’s free from care.
I’ll leave this world of toil and trouble.
My home’s in heaven. I’m going there.

You can hear it in a number of places, including here.

Heaven, God’s space, is imagined as a glorious place where there is no recession, no investment scandals, no crisis in banking, no defaulting on loans, no large-scale redundancies. Heaven is shown as quite separate from all of this.

Though it is — in some way — a theological reflection on economic crisis, I suspect it is not the reality check that the Archbishop of Canterbury was looking for.

There is an otherness of heaven, but it doesn’t stay “out there”. The message of Christmas is that heaven comes here and enters in to our space. Heaven doesn’t remain apart from the toil and trouble. Rather God breaks in to all the mess and is born as a vulnerable baby in the middle of it all.

Heaven is what happens when we let God in. It’s not that God is going to wave a magic pantomime wand and sort out the problems, but God will stand with us in the misery, inspire us to help those who are in depression because of the Depression, and give us the tools for making the moral and economic choices for remaking our world.

We need to start again, with the baby in the manger.

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14 years ago

Thanks for this.

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
14 years ago

Thanks for this reflection. A blessed Christmas to all, every single one of you, and especially those I have riled.

Cheryl Va.
14 years ago


It is the darkest of times that God brings out the best in us. Courage and leadership is easy in pleasant circumstances. It is in adversity and turmoil that we find real strength.

Jesus came not in an easy time, but in a terrible time.

When things seem at their worst and you can no longer go on, that is when you find the beacons of hope to carry you forward. Being Christians we are called upon to be those beacons, not just for those we love, but for all occupants of God’s Creations.

Merry Christmas.

14 years ago

Happy Christmas, all.


Father Ron Smith
14 years ago

Christus Natus Hodie! Alleluia!

God so loved the world…… Alleluia
A Happy and Blessed Christmas everyone.

Jay Vos
14 years ago

Thanks for this meditation.

Blessings to all for a joyous Christmastide!

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
14 years ago

Merry Christmas all!

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