James Weldon Johnson, Poet


Click image to listen to the Metropolitan Baptist Church Choir (Largo, MD)
sing “Lift every voice and sing” by James Weldon Johnson

Today (June 25th) the Episcopal Church remembers James Weldon Johnson.

James Weldon Johnson was born in 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida…. In 1900, he collaborated with his brother, Rosamond, a composer, to create “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Written in celebration of President Lincoln’s birthday, the song, still popular today, has become known as the “African American National Anthem.” Read the entire post at Holy Women, Holy Men

As we remember, we pray:

Eternal God, we give thanks for the gifts that you gave your servant James Weldon Johnson: a heart and voice to praise your Name in verse. As he gave us powerful words to glorify you, may we also speak with joy and boldness to banish hatred from your creation, in the Name of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen. Source: Holy Women, Holy Men

On Trinity Sunday we read “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:16-20). In James Weldon Johnson we have a wonderful example of using God-given gifts to glorify God and benefit the community and we pray that the same may be true in us. God will surely hear that prayer–are we ready to work with God’s grace and for God’s glory?

Lyrics for “Lift every voice and sing” by James Weldon Johnson

Lift every voice and sing,
till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening 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.

Stony the road we trod,
bitter the chastening 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 fathers died?

We have come over a way that with tears have 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.

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.

Source: Gospel Music Lyrics

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (from the Diocese of San Diego; "Retired" due to illness).

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