Lift Every Voice and Sing (ELW 841)
1 Lift ev’ry voice and sing till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise high as the list’ning skies,
let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us;
sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
let us march on till victory is won.
2 Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning rod,
felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
come to the place for which our people sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;
we have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
3 God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
thou who hast by thy might led us into the light,
keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee;
lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee;
shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand,
true to our God, true to our native land.
Having become known to many in the last century as the “Black National Anthem,” I heard this hymn yesterday during the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington, where the words spoken by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still rang in our nation’s ears: “I have a Dream.” But today in the face of the unjust treatment of our black siblings at the hands of white power, those words seem to have fallen on many a deaf ear. My heart grieves for a people, as one NBA coach said, “who love this country, but this country doesn’t love us back.”
The church’s mission is to keep God the main thing and to not stay silent but to lift EVERY voice and sing. Where there is hate, we sing out love; where there is division, we sing out unity; where there is violence, we sing out peace. For how long? Till earth and heaven ring with the harmonies of freedom.
May we be your mouthpiece, Lord, and lift our voices in harmony with the suffering and oppressed. Amen.