Music, song rock inner city communities, especially in church.
Frankly, I have always been amazed and a bit perplexed by the power and enthusiasm of the music that rattles the walls of inner city churches, especially in view of all the problems and pains so many members face on a daily basis.
Poverty, racism, ill-health, violence, unresponsive political leaders, crime--the list goes on and on. So, what's there to sing about?
During the heyday of the American Civil Rights Movement, it was clear to me that the songs filling churches and meeting halls provided the marching music of moral and spiritual resolve. Powerful music reflected and fueled powerful action at a crucial time. Music was movement.
Frederick Douglass, ex-slave, abolitionist and literary genius, writes about the music of slavery in his amazing personal chronicle, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. What he teaches me here relates, I think, to what I hear so often on Sundays.
"I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrows, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion." (pages 26-27)
December 8, 2013–second Sunday in Advent
16 hours ago