Green Sally Up!

I can always count on my brother to give me a cool, new workout. When we were away together over Thanksgiving we did a 20 minute, high intensity workout with a deck of cards. Good times. Like my dad, Luke is good at finding or putting together creative workouts. While I was on the phone with him this weekend, I told him that I’ve been doing the card workout here and there to break up my normal routine. He asked me if I have seen the “Sally up, Sally down” workout that has been making the rounds online. Nope. Apparently, the challenge is to play the song “Flower” by Moby, and try to complete it doing some torturous push-ups. Now, I have done some pretty crazy push-ups in my workouts. I’ve done scorpions, crow push-ups, grasshopper push-ups, and push-up jacks. But this is just your basic push-up. And it is killer! When the song says “bring Sally up,” you push up and when it goes “bring Sally down,” you go down. But you have to hold the down position until the song says “bring Sally up” again, and visa versa, for the entire song. I like a good challenge, so I looked it up. I knew when I watched the video that it looked much easier than it was going to be. Sounds like a good goal to master for the week. I tried the first time today, and made it to the 2 minute mark. Here is the video: But I’m a bit of a dork, so I had to find out the story behind the song. The main lyrics are few and repetitive:
Bring Sally up, bring Sally down
Lift and squat, gotta tear the ground
Turns out this version is based on an African-American children’s song that was sang out in the cotton fields. It would keep the kids busy while their parents were working. And they were moving in cadence to the directions of the song as well. Except the original lyrics go,
Green Sally up, green Sally down
Last one squat, gotta tear the ground
“Green Sally” means little girl. Just as we say something like “last one there’s a rotten egg,” the song playfully teased that the last child to squat had to help their parents pick cotton. It seems that history testifies to children from different cultures making fun of the slowest kid. The last one in is so slow they deserve to spoil like a rotten egg or pick cotton. We tend to think that the early bird always gets the worm and quickest is best. Sometimes that is true, but not always. In the earliest days of the church all the way to the present, many believe that if the Lord is really returning for a judgment day, he would have come by now. Peter addresses this accusation:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Pet. 3:9)
Think about God’s great patience. He is waiting for the very last of all his elect to repent before he returns! In this case, the last is spoiled in a very different sense. The last is just as valuable to God as the first, and he will wait, providentially accomplishing his sovereign will in the process. Imagine the rejoicing of the angels and the saints on that Great Day when the last person that makes up Christ’s bride turns to him in faith and repentance. But we must not be presumptuous with God’s patience. Peter goes on to remind us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief. We must be ready; we must not delay. Today is the day of salvation! The children’s rhymes tease about what will happen to the last, but don’t really mean it. God promises to bless even the last, and that all his people will finish the race. All his people will make it to the end of the song, and to the beginning of resurrected life with our Lord on the new heavens and the new earth. But those who do not look to Christ for their salvation will suffer eternal condemnation. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on. And just like my workout challenge, it seems that we are down longer than we are up. I long to hear, “Green Sally up!” Therefore, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).