‘Hell You Talmbout?’ Protest Music Meets the Church in the Streets

This article originally ran on Sojourners blog.

Last week’s public release of “HellYouTalmbout,” a newly revised song by six-time Grammy nominated performer Janelle Monáe and her team of artists, Wondaland, caught on like spirit-fire in the soul of the Black Lives Matter movement and has swiftly propelled Monáe — a young, gifted, and socially conscious artist — to the forefront of the voices and faces in the public square.

“HellYouTalmbout” is both anthem and war chant to Afro-Caribbean drum beats that elicit the sounds of throbbing hearts as each name of murdered black men and women is called with the driving command to “Say his/her name.” It is not a love ode, but a protest anthem for freedom. After her Eephus tour August 12 in Phildelphia, and leading a protest march there against police brutality, Monáe posted on Instagram:

“This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves… Won’t you say their names?”

My first listen to “HellYouTalmbout” raised emotions of tearful sadness, anger, and determination. It has the profound draw of an anthem, a battle cry — the rhythmic, pulsing music of protest with strong male and female voices shouting a death chant of remembrance. “Hell YouTalmbout” is a tool of defiant signification, a refusal to forget those cut down by systemic violence of militarized policing and racial profiling long embedded in the social fabric of urban, inner city life as a “ground-zero” battleground of survival.

At the August 17 Black Out festival in Millennium Park, Chicago, Monáe said, “We don’t come here as artists, as celebrities. We come here as people. I come here as a black woman. We come as a black man, black human beings.”

She was joined at the festival by Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland — a victim of an arrest for an alleged traffic violation that resulted in her brutal death while in police custody, whose name is among the roll call of the martyred in the anthem.

Protest anthems are not new, from field slave chants like Wade in the Water, with Underground Railroad calls of freedom, to the message of resistance in a church favorite, I’m On the Battlefield for my Lord.

But unlike those infused with the sacristy of church hymnody sung during the civil rights era led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in the sanctuaries of Southern congregations, there is street cred in “Hell YouTalmbout” and other millennial anthems of the Black Lives Matter movement.

These artists have undeniably adopted protest tools that speak to the gritty life of being poor with limited opportunities for survival in the streets, of life-threatening avenues of risky commerce, and of too-frequent monitoring, if not manipulation, by police as modern-day overseers meting out extrajudicial death sentences.

Anthems as hymns crafted for the public square raise challenging lyrics that are no less spiritual, yet are intended for civic conversion of societal systems and strictures rather than individual conversion of internalized salvation.

And just as young celebrities increasingly have come forward to add voice to the injustice of egregious brutality by police, Monáe also invokes a Christian profession of God as just judge against human injustices of racism, violence, and supremacist ideologies.

A furor arose after Monáe’s live performance August 14, when NBC’s Today Show edited and cut her expressed sentiments on the anthem.

She began, “Yes Lord! God bless America! God bless all the lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know we stand tall today. We will not be silenced—”

The rest of her message was interrupted inexplicably. In the re-broadcast, the omission of the entire performance sparked the wrath of social media networks, because this censorship — the act of preventing disquieted voices — was tinder to the fire of the anthem’s message: Protest the disregard for black bodies unseen and voices unheard.

Monáe’s lyrics in her original 2013 song of a similar title state:

Red, white, and blue. Here come the sirens only to dance with the little girls on the corner. There’s a war in the streets. Nobody speaks and now a boy laying on the ground

Now what the hell – Hell you talking ‘bout?…

“We’re laughing together right – right when the shooting comes

Baby what the hell you talking ‘bout?”

A conundrum arises for traditional churches that resist the comingling of sacred and secular — what songs of Zion can reach the populous of disenchanted generations that fill the streets, and what actions can be taken without threat to ecclesial respectability?

Perhaps some will continue to turn deaf ears to the rallying cry for public theology as incarnational gospel of church without walls. Others will prefer to close doors on dwindling numbers rather than turn from a Hallmark-a-cized Christ to a radicalized Jesus.

But those questions are not posed in the prophetic public theology among theologians and church leaders who increasingly embrace the prophetic call-to-action. These leaders are joining the crowds to enact a radical gospel that demands love, dignity, peace, and equity. The numbers of faith leaders in the public square continue to grow, and by their actions, demonstrate that Christ and street cred are both public sanctuary where black lives must be held as sacred.

In the public square, the power of Jesus’ outcry to “take up your cross and follow me” is fueling public theology. Today’s rallying cries are not heavily centered on proselytization but on positive social change. Likewise, the chants — “Black Lives Matter“, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot“, “We want freedom, freedom“, and “Say His/Her Name” — joins unified voices of multi-racial and multi-generational protesters whose beliefs propel them to solidarity in allied disruption.

At the core of these anthems is the premise that God created one human family — that God’s movement as liberator holds an ethical foundation for the equal right to be free. Here in the streets is where both church and community will continue to demand: Hell you talmbout?

Rev. Dr. Valerie Miles-Tribble, DMin, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Ministerial Leadership & Practical Theology for the American Baptist Seminary of the West.

Everything Old Is New Again #wgfest15

I realize this is a little premature, but this feels a little like a “What Did I Do Over Summer Vacation” essay that I had to write in fifth grade. Mrs. Henson was a stickler for good penmanship and right manners. Old school. She was decidedly old school. But I digress.

This summer I had the distinct privilege of being asked to serve as the Liturgical Coordinator for the Wild Goose Festival held in Hot Springs, NC. The festival is a time and place of celebrating the “intersection of Spirit, Justice, Music, and the Arts” that began a few years ago. As such liturgies abound. Some of them were rather traditional. The Episcopal tent, for example, held Compline services every night. They also broke out of the mold and hosted a songwriter circle and an agape feast. The Goose is like that. Ask the Methodists about the beer tent. Oh, and the Baptists had a coffee shop.

People break from the mold a little. There was a eucharistic liturgy where a blacksmith literally hammered a rifle into a farm implement. It was an unusual eucharist, to be sure, but beautiful.

Dr. William Barber preaches at opening ceremonies.
Dr. William Barber preaches at opening ceremonies.

This summer’s theme was “Blessed Are The Peacemakers.” Preachers like Dr. William Barber were there to inspire us. Rev. Traci Blackmon from Ferguson, Missouri was also there. She preached at our closing Eucharist. Rev. Joy Wallis was our celebrant.

Others were there like Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo. There were three or four different sessions going on simultaneously each of the three days. Ana Hernandez was there to help out with music. She says hello to everyone.

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Matt Morris offers his musical talents.

Right, the music. One of the ways to understand Wild Goose is to imagine Burning Man and then mashing it up with Greenbelt or the Chautauqua Institute. Musicians from various stripes were there to perform. Gungor, Matt Morris, Yara Allen, Emmanuel Jal, The Collection, The Brilliance, and many others. No one genre was featured. No one style. There were pop-up concerts all over the place. Jam sessions and impromptu meet-ups happened all the time.

As the Liturgical Coordinator, it was my responsibility to make sure that the scheduled liturgies and their organizers had all they needed. I tried to have my title changed to Liturgical Enabler because that’s what I was actually doing. Everyone there had a liturgical habit they needed met. I was happy to help out. From free church to high church and everything in between and beyond, I counted over 45 liturgies (officially sanctioned or otherwise) during the festival.

Bree Newsome spoke.
Bree Newsome spoke.

This was the first year they asked for someone to serve in the position. I was not the first person they asked. I’m really glad that the first person turned it down. It was incredible.

What all these liturgists needed was a sense of common vision, a way to articulate a liturgical posture or narrative for the weekend. So, to close this little missive for you all, I’m going to share what I offered during our opening ceremony. I wanted to show people what I was already seeing and to invite them into a community, a social space, a geographical place where everything old was new again.

What is going on here?

You have stepped through the veil
into a temple without walls jet-lagged,
road weary, burned out, intrigued, hopeful,
enthusiastic, and just a little confused.

You have entered a basilica
where the dome of heaven itself is the ceiling.
Shrines and altars line the route on our pilgrimage together;
a holy time;
a thin place crafted by your hands
and kissed by the Holy Spirit.
She is inviting you to join in
The rhythms of our time together.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

This is the three great days of Holy Week,
a continuous liturgy that begins on Thursday night
and concludes on Sunday morning.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

This is a tent revival
where we will testify to the movement of The Divine
in our streets, classrooms, courthouses, homes,
and even our churches urging one another
to wake up to the truth that the holy is in each of us.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

This is a festival of art and music where we are reminded
that we are bodies-good creatures-blessed icons of heaven on earth
and we can move and sing and be engulfed
in landscapes and soundscapes of hope.

Blessed are the peacemakers.
Blessed are you, the peacemakers.
Blessed are we, the peacemakers.

This is the liturgy of Wild Goose. Welcome.

It was an honor to have the opportunity to play with 2,200 people who gathered there on the banks of the French Broad River. I hope to do it again.

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Rev. Tripp Hudgins is Director of Admissions at American Baptist Seminary of the West and a PhD student in Liturgy and Ethnomusicology at Graduate Theological Union.

A Brief Service of Prayer in Response to the Pew Research Religious Landscape Study

A Brief Service of Prayer in Response
to
The Pew Research Religious Landscape Study[1]

 

L: Lord, make speed to save us.
P: Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the One God who redeems all, Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Psalm 90: 1-4, 13-17 (unison)

Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.

Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the earth and the world were formed,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn us back to dust and say:
‘Turn back, O children of earth.’

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday,
which passes like a watch in the night.

Turn again, O Lord; how long will you delay?
Have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us with your loving-kindness in the morning,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Give us gladness for the days you have afflicted us,
and for the years in which we have seen adversity.

Show your servants your works,
and let your glory be over their children.

May the gracious favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
prosper our handiwork; O prosper the work of our hands.

First Response: Chris Baker, PhD student, Garret Evangelical Theological Seminary

In response to the reality that religion in general and Christianity in particular is in decline in the U.S. and throughout the so-called “West,” I’m seeing a number of articles, posts, and books on why “we need religion.” This, I think, is a terrible mistake.

First, we don’t “need” religion, and those leaving our houses of worship understand this. The underlying needs met by participation in a religious community — social, psychological, ethical, and especially the felt need to connect with the divine — can be met elsewhere. To conflate those needs with “religion” is the sort of self-serving dishonesty that turns people off.

But, more importantly, to say that we “need” religion is to reduce religion to the logic of necessity. Such logic is limiting. Religion — as noted above — isn’t “necessary.” It is, in fact, quite gratuitous. But, at its best, it is a peculiarly literal kind of gratuitous. That is, it is a gratuity. A gift.

My faith is a gift to me. The community that nurtures my faith is a gift to me. That community, and all religious communities, ought also to be a gift to the broader communities we find ourselves in. If religious communities are to survive and thrive in an age where needs can be met elsewhere, that is the path to survival. In our very gratuitousness we can find our vocation as a gift, freely given to a world that is equally free to reject the gift. But if we aren’t a gift, we have no business surviving in the first place.

Revelation 3:14-20

‘And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation:

‘I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

Religiously UnaffiliatedSecond Response: Rachel Held Evans, author and theologian

Not everyone who leaves church is “nominally Christian” or “lukewarm.” For many, our doubts and questions about faith are intense, real, and deeply important to us. I’ve only just begun limping my way back to church, but the time away wasn’t because I didn’t care. I cared. Deeply. Checking off the “none” box in a religious survey may seem like a halfhearted or causal response, but for many of our friends and neighbors, it carries a lot of careful thought, a lot of pain, and in some cases, a lot of courage. We are each so much more complicated than the boxes we check on survey. Especially when it comes to faith – one of the most beautiful, frustrating, and complicated things of all.

Reading: Matthew 6: 26-34

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Third Response: Henry S. Kuo, PhD student, Graduate Theological Union

I have one thing to say about that Pew report: why is almost everyone so worked up about it? If you’re so worried mainline Christianity is “dying” (never mind the lack of a robust definition of it), then get to work and minister to the people. Whining and crying over numbers isn’t going to solve anything. At least my pastor is hard at work ministering to the people.

Closing Prayer:

P: Eternal giver of life and light,
the world shines with the radiance of the risen Christ.
Renew your church with the Spirit given us in baptism,
that we may worship you in sincerity and truth
and may shine as a light in the world,
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.

L: Rejoicing in God’s new creation,
let us pray as our Redeemer has taught us:

P: Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

      With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.[2]

L: As Christ burst forth from the tomb,
may new life burst forth from us
and show itself in acts of love and healing to a hurting world. Amen.

Religious Nones

[1] http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/

[2] See more at: http://kathwilliamson.blogspot.com/2009/05/lords-prayer-from-new-zealand.html#sthash.nMBhPPmq.dpuf

The Beautifully Ambiguous Apologetic

The contemporary challenge to the Protestant mainline is realizing that we do not have to explain ourselves to the rest of our culture. Yet, we are called to the work of evangelism. How then do we proceed? The trick will be not repeating the mistakes of American evangelicalism in the process of crafting this new-to-us practice. It’s not enough to craft another set of Fundamentals. No. We need to invent something else entirely.

Or, at the very least, we must proclaim to others what it is that we already offer. We offer people something ambiguous enough for a multiplicity of perspectives to exist in one community simultaneously. No fundamentalism is needed. Instead, we offer faith.

Rachel Held Evans wrote a great piece based off her new book, Searching for Sunday. Keith Anderson responded. Rachel Held Evans responded again (it’s so good). I said something about them both providing examples of a conversation I would like to see more of. Let’s talk about the relationship between mission and liturgy, shall we? Please? Moving on.

Today Tony Jones wrote a thing in response to both of them. Clint Schnekloth wrote a response to Tony and Keith accusing them both of a certain degree of mansplaining among other things. Last but not least, Elizabeth Drescher wrote a piece that helps frame a great deal of all this talk about why church and loyalty and belief specifically where our children are concerned. Why do you make your kids go to church? This is where I want to take the conversation.

As usual, Elizabeth is on it:

Inviting kids to choose whether or not to go to church may not say that God is unimportant, that faith doesn’t matter. It may say that parents cannot adequately and authentically explain why it does matter in the context of lives that are filled with moral ambiguity and contradiction.

For the mainline, a set of Protestant traditions that may have begun as religious dissident movements, but became the establishment religion in the United States for a time, ambiguity is the name of the Christian game. Unlike our evangelical kin, our creedal statements have come with a certain degree of wiggle room. In spite of our traditions being founded on movements willing to go to war over creedal statements (see: Zwingli, the Thirty Years War, etc.), the lived traditions in the United States have learned how to make room for a multiplicity of interpretations of the same religious tradition. Martin Marty called it “Baptistification.” Others have simply called it pluralism. This is what it means to be “progressive” for many of our congregations.

Ambiguity is everything.

This is why so many of our communities depend upon our liturgies to do the apologetic heavy lifting for us. Held Evans’ testimony is a great example of how this can work well.

Liturgical symbols are notoriously ambiguous. They are juxtaposed with one another establishing if not reifying contradictions. Whether or not that was their intended purpose, it’s pretty clear that our communities engage in both official theological definitions of liturgical symbols (action, objects, songs, etc) as well as local definitions. Thus liturgical symbols become an embodied apologetic as essential to our identity as any outreach activity.

An Autobiographical Turn:

I was not raised Christian. In college I started to question my place in the universe. There’s no need to share the whole story here, but I found faith in Christ by singing in worship with the college choir. This initial faith was reinforced and stretched during my time living and working at Richmond Hill, a retreat center in Richmond, VA.

Committed to work of racial reconciliation and justice, the community of Richmond Hill also took vows. We prayed together three times a day. We shared in the Eucharist. The community was ecumenical and socially engaged. Our liturgy became the place for me to hold the strident language of Paul, the definitive claims of the creeds, and the oddity of the movement of the Holy Spirit in creative tension. More accurately, these things would hold me as I came to love them all. Paul’s strident theology, for example, only makes sense in a life of liturgy and justice seeking. It is there that Paul becomes a brother, a person struggling to make peace with God. It is there that the Nicene Creed becomes the testimony of a people rather than the legalistic claim of an ecclesial court. It is there that our prayers mingled with all the prayers of all the faithful in every time and place.

All of the liturgy is a conversation with saints and angels. Theology is a polyphony, a symphony, an ambiguous cacophony of faithful testimony.

The Problem of Fundamentalism:

Ambiguous. Fruitful. Generative. Liturgical signification is polyvalent, don’t you know. The hermeneutic of a community of the faithful is always so. This is what I learned at Richmond Hill. This is what I continue to learn in my communities of faith.

Jones, to the contrary, asks the Mainline to rethink this approach. I get it. He’s looking for a passionate, definitive response to American fundamentalism. He wants to say, for example, that not ordaining women is actually heretical. What I want to suggest is that the mainline in the United States is offering a passionate response to fundamentalism. But at our best, it’s not through a competing fundamentalism.

The difficulty for Tony is that our response is simply too ambiguous. Instead, I believe, he wants us to propose a new set of Fundamentals.

What I think Rachel Held Evans sees as the value of the mainline is that we aren’t suggesting a new set of Fundamentals. Instead, we are offering symbols for people to engage all on their own. We are inviting people to breathe. We are inviting people to open up. We are making room for testimony. We are collecting them with the great cloud of witnesses.

At American Baptist Seminary of The West, we have some working language on all this. We say, “We are a group of radical thinkers in a world where theology is a matter of life and death.”

This kind of ambiguity is a radical posture in a world of digital certainty. It is a radical response to a long-standing habit of fundamentalism. Theology can bring life or bring death. Fundamentalism is death-bringing.

What Jones wants is more of what he knows from evangelicalism…fundamentals. What Evans offers is an alternative to a violent theological praxis that Jones clings to.

The need to be right is a poison in the Church. How do we let it go and practice a more generous hermeneutic?

I have already cast my lot with Held Evans and the rest. That happened a long time ago. Are there risks? Sure. People bail. Our children don’t carry on the tradition. We can slip into a kind of moral relativism. Vaguery happens. More ink has been spilled and blogs shared on this subject than can be counted by Google.

Still, I’ll take the risk. Such an apologetic is too beautiful to ignore. And I want to live.

Rev. Tripp Hudgins is Director of Admissions at ABSW and a PhD student at Graduate Theological Union studying liturgy and ethnomusicology.

What We’re Singing: Palm and Passion Sunday

MARCH 29, 2015
What we’re singing at First Baptist Church of Berkeley this Sunday
Palm and Passion Sunday – “Lifting Up Our Souls”

The service begins with Psalm 118 as a Prayer of Invocation, including the sung response: “Hail and Hosanna! Blest is he who comes in God’s own name to make our world God’s home!” (words: James Hart Brumm; music: Alfred Fedak)

Scripture Reading: John 12:12–15 (“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord the King of Israel!”)

Contemporary Reading, by Howard Thurman:

For more than two years, Jesus had been engaged in a public ministry. So sensitive had grown his spirit and the living quality of his being that he seemed more and more to stand inside of life, looking out upon it as a man who gazes from a window in a room out into the yard and beyond to the distant hills. He could feel the sparrowness of the sparrow, the leprosy of the leper, the blindness of the blind, the crippleness of the cripple, and the frenzy of the mad. He had become joy, sorrow, hope, anguish, to the joyful, the sorrowful, the hopeful, the anguished. Could he feel his way into the mind and the mood of those who cast the palms and the flowers in his path? I wonder what was at work in the mind of Jesus of Nazareth as he jogged along on the back of a faithful donkey.

Hymn: “Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates”
(words: Georg Weissel, 1642; tune: truro, Thomas Williams, 1789)

Stanza 1:
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates, behold the King of glory waits,
The King of Kings is drawing near; the Savior of the world is here!

Following the Prayer of Confession, we sing these Words of Assurance:

Come and fill our hearts with your peace.
You alone, O Lord, are holy.
Come and fill our hearts with your peace, alleluia!
(Taíze chant)

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:10–15 (“His disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”)

Chant: “Eat This Bread”
Eat this bread, drink this cup, come to me and never be hungry.
Eat this bread, drink this cup, trust in me and you will not thirst.
(Taíze chant)

[We move to a table at the back of the worship space, to sit down and share communion.]

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:16–25 (“While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”)

Sharing the Bread and Cup

Scripture Reading: Mark 14:32–42 (“They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’”)

Sharing our Prayers, our praise and laments

Call to Prayer: “Love Lifted Me” (James Rowe, 1912)
Love lifted me, love lifted me, when nothing else would help, love lifted me!

Time of Offering and Hymn of Dedication: “What Wondrous Love Is This” (Words: American folk hymn; tune: wondrous love, Walker’s Southern Harmony, 1835)

Gospel Reading, Mark 15:53–64 (“Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.”)

Solo: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”
(words: attributed to Bernard of Clairveaux, 1091–1153; tune: salley gardens, Irish folk melody, arr. Benjamin Britten)

O sacred head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded with thorns, your only crown:
how pale you are with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that image languish which once was bright as morn!

What language shall I borrow to thank you, dearest Friend,
for this your dying sorrow, your pity without end?
O make me yours forever; and though my days be few,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for you.

Time of Silence

Blessing for the Holy Week Journey: Philippians 2:5–11 (“And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the 8point of death even death on a cross.”)

Hymn of Praise: “Lift High the Cross”
(words: George William Kitchen (1827–1912); tune crucifer, Sidney Hugo Nicholson, 1916)

Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore his sacred name.

FBC Berkeley worships at 10:00 am every Sunday in Crouch Classroom, Hobart Hall, on the ABSW campus. Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Hall (ABSW faculty) is the pastor. Our preacher this Sunday is Pastor Hall. Come sing with us! We are a Welcoming and Affirming congregation for the LGBTQ community.

Crucify him! Crucify him!

This is a powerful post by Paul Raushenbush on Anti-Semitism and Palm Sunday.

Ignorant or willful misunderstanding of the death of Jesus has led to horrible oppression of Jewish people over the last two thousand years. Christians celebrating Easter should remember that Good Friday was a day when Christians went on rampages against Jews often leading to their deaths. If you need any proof there is a fun lemonade drink popular in Spain around Easter called “Matar Judios” or “Kill Jews.”

Read the rest here.

What We’re Singing: Transfiguration Sunday

FEBRUARY 15, 2015
What we’re singing at First Baptist Church of Berkeley this Sunday
Transfiguration Sunday

Hymn of Praise: “O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright”
(words: Ambrose of Milan, c. 374; tune: PUER NOBIS NASCITUR, 15th century)

Psalm of the Day: No. 50:1-6
Sung version of the Psalm: “Let the Giving of Thanks”
(words/paraphrase: The Iona Community, 1993; tune: GREYFRIARS, The Iona Community)

Gospel text, Mark 9:2-9 (Jesus and three disciples ascend a mountain where they meet Moses and Elijah; Jesus is transfigured)
Songs in response to the text:
“We Are Standing on Holy Ground” and “Santo, Santo, Santo”
(words and music: Geron Davis, 1983 / words and music: Spanish traditional)

Hymn in response to the preached message: “How Good, Lord, to Be Here”
(words: Joseph Armitage Robinson, 1888; tune: ST. THOMAS, Aaron Williams, 1763)
Stanzas 4 & 5:
This image we behold, we see your kindom come;
we long to hold that vision bright, and make this mount our home!
How good, Lord, to be here! Yet we may not remain;
but since you bid us leave the mount, come with us to the plain.

Hymn of Dedication: “Christ, Be Our Light”
(words and music: Bernadette Farrell, 2006)
Refrain:
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light! Shine in our church, gathered today.

Songs of Commitment: “This Little Light of Mine” and “We Are Marching in the Light of God”
The lively Zulu/Zhosa freedom song originated in South Africa and has gone on to be sung around the globe (translation of words: Gracia Grindal, 1984; tune: SIYAHAMBA)

FBC Berkeley worships at 10:00 am every Sunday in Crouch Classroom, Hobart Hall, on the ABSW campus. Rev. Dr. Nancy E. Hall (ABSW faculty) is the pastor. Our preacher this Sunday is Minister Sharon Allen. Come sing with us! We are a Welcoming and Affirming congregation.