Much of the music we will sing and hear for our Reckoning with Racism liturgies this Sunday is based on African-American spirituals. As African-American Sacred music scholar J. Wendell Mapson states, “Spirituals are distinctly an American contribution, not born in Africa. Emerging out of the experience of a people in slavery, spirituals express the full range of human emotion: pain, fear, joy, sorrow, despair, hope, futility, and faith.”
From Sunday’s organ prelude on “Talk about a child that do love Jesus” by African-American composer Calvin Taylor to the choir anthem “Until I reach my home” with threads of “Ain’a that good news?” to the jazzy closing voluntary mashup of “Go down, Moses” with “Wade in the water,” our 9am and 11am services will highlight the musical legacy of our African-American brothers and sisters. We’ll also sing traditional spirituals like “I want Jesus to walk with me” and “Guide my feet Lord, while I run this race” as a congregation.