Lift Every Voice And Sing


lift every voice2

Lift every voice and sing,
‘Til 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 ’til victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning 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 sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
‘Til 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 has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has 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.

My friend Melanie posted these lyrics, written in 1900, on her Facebook page today and wrote: “The words of J. W. Johnson ring truer than ever.”

Those of us outside the African-American community may not know of or appreciate the cultural significance of this song, which was adopted as the “Negro National Anthem” by the NAACP in 1919. (Late last century, “Lift Every Voice And Sing” would be entered into the Congressional Record as the official African American National Hymn.)

We may have also missed Rev. Joseph Lowery paraphrasing the third stanza in the Inaugural Benediction today. But certainly this was not lost on our African-American brothers and sisters.

On this amazing day in the history of our nation, I would like to honor not just President Obama, but all African-Americans, past and present, who by their toil, patience, suffering, and tears have made today possible.

Let freedom ring!

Missionary Couple Forgives Their Attackers


John and Eloise Bergen, Canadian missionaries to Kenya, began testifying in court yesterday at the trial of the nine men who brutally attacked them last July. The Bergens had been living in Kenya for four months, helping to care for widows, orphans, and refugees. John, age 70, was bludgeoned by clubs and machetes until his skull, jaw, arms, and legs were broken, and then left for dead in the bushes. Eloise, age 66, was gang-raped, then punched, choked with a cord, and sliced by machetes.

The couple has been waiting for months to physically heal so they can share one very specific message with their attackers:

“We forgive you.”  (more…)

Atheists Launch Ad Campaign on Britian’s Buses


Yesterday marked the launch of Britain’s first atheist ad campaign on buses. The idea was conceived by a woman named Ariane Sherine. Her plan was to place ads promoting atheism on 30 London buses. But then Richard Dawkins and the British Humanist Association got behind the campaign. The groundswell of support grew so strong that eventually enough money was donated to the cause to place ads on 800 buses!

You can read all about it in a Times Online article entitled “Richard Dawkins launches ‘There is no God’ adverts on buses across Britain“.

I think it’s very exciting to see this kind of continued interest generated in “the God issue”. Contrary to what Dawkins has been quoted as saying, thinking is not anathema to religion. Jesus urged his followers to love God with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. I hope the bus campaign awakens secular Brits, who might not normally ponder the metaphysical, out of their slumber in order to ask and seek the answers to the big questions of life.

What do you think of the campaign?