Last week, I attended the annual convention of the Association of Anglican Musicians. As many of you know, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year – getting new ideas from my colleagues and friends and experiencing truly transformational worship. The singing is always unlike anything I’ve ever heard anywhere. On Thursday, the mood was a bit subdued as we were all shocked and horrified at the events that took place in Charleston on Wednesday evening. In the quiet before our closing Eucharist, I opened the hymnal and read the marvelous words to hymn #599 with fresh eyes.

            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.

                                                -James Weldon Johnson

 

            The Rev. Clementa Pinckney

            The Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor

            The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

            The Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr.

            Myra Thompson

            Susie Jackson

            Ethyl Lance

            Tywanza Sanders

            Cynthia Hurd

 May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. And let the rest of us get to work, as victory is clearly far from won.