She Will Lift Our Spirits with Song!

Listen to Her justice call;
follow Sister Wisdom, take down walls;
though our path is hard and long,
She will lift our spirits with song.

Listen to Her call for peace;
follow Sister Wisdom, never ceasing;
keep on planting justice seeds;
She will give us all that we need.

Words © 2019 Jann Aldredge-Clanton      
Music © 2019 Katie Ketchum

Words © 2019 Jann Aldredge-Clanton      
Music © 2019 Katie Ketchum

“Audre Lorde” by Stacy Boorn

Though our path is hard and long, She will lift our spirits with song. Social justice movements have been empowered by songs. Music played a large role in the abolition, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements. Music continues to play an important part in the Black Lives Matter movement and in movements for workers’ rights, immigrants, and LGBTQ justice.

Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall, civil rights leader and womanist scholar and preacher, proclaimed the power of singing freedom songs to fashion “fear into faith, cringing into courage, suffering into survival, despair into defiance, and pain into protest.” During long, hard, risky days of voter registration, “music was a lifeline, a source, a well from which we could draw, a source of courage and strength in the face of eminent danger.”

Just as in the civil rights movement, music can empower our social justice work today. Music empowers action for social change. Music stirs our spirits and embeds words in our memories. Words shape our values that drive our actions. Singing our beliefs in justice, peace, and equity will move us to transform our world.

At Equity for Women in the Church worship services and other meetings, we experience the power of singing justice songs. Worship at The Gathering, A Womanist Church also includes empowering freedom songs. Here is a video of Vontril McLemore, a ministry partner of The Gathering, singing “We Shall Overcome” at one of the worship services.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic makes it unwise to gather in person at churches, especially to engage in congregational singing, we can still experience the power of music. Many churches and other organizations are discovering a variety of creative ways to bring music to people. For example, with Acapella and other music apps, people in church choirs can come together online to make beautiful recordings of gospel songs, anthems, and hymns. They can even collaborate with musicians from around the country and the world.

During these challenging times we can experience the power of music to heal and transform. We can listen to a wide variety of music recordings and perhaps sing along and/or join a virtual choir. And we can share music recordings to empower others. I invite you to share the two recordings on this blogpost.

Though our path is hard and long, She will lift our spirits with song!

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