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 parents 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.
Text: James W. Johnson, 1871-1938
"Lift every voice and sing!" In singing we become part of the song. Some of us sing to the whole church the often-painful African-American experience. Some of us sing having been graciously grafted into the liberating work God is doing.
We sing trusting that that the Spirit continues to be at work. God has brought us this far, out of slavery into freedom, through weary years on the way to the good future God is bringing. We proclaim that God was at work in the emancipation of black Americans from slavery, just as God was at work in the freeing of the Hebrew slaves; that God was at work in the leaders of the civil rights movement, who proclaimed God's determination that "black lives matter" -- just as white lives had mattered; that God has a future with hope for all God's people. And this future is God's way that is coming to us -- for God is the Truth who sets us all free.