STJ#1035, Freedom Is Coming

I think I first learned this song in high school, about the same time I heard about apartheid in South Africa. Yet I am pretty sure I never related the two – I know our music teachers didn’t do that, and at that age I wasn’t in a religious education program that helped me understand the world in context (I was in a youth group at a small non-denominational, more-or-less fundamentalist church where we talked bible, not justice).

I began to wonder, as I sought recordings of today’s hymn to share, and found mountains of YouTube videos of high school choirs, if music teachers are doing a better job of connecting the music they sing to the context the music comes from.

Because the context is rich – there is much we can learn about the United States past and present from examining South African apartheid, from the creep of discriminatory legislation to the ways in which resistance to those laws bend the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

And as we see over and over again, music makes a difference. We have talked about it here a lot – the enslaved Africans in America, the civil rights movement, Estonia’s singing revolution, and more. Music spreads, music informs, music reaches deep in and grabs hold of our spirits, music shifts our energy and can change our minds.

Oh freedom, oh freedom,
oh freedom, freedom is coming!

Oh yes I know, oh yes I know,
oh yes I know, freedom is coming!

Oh freedom, oh freedom,
oh freedom, freedom is coming!

Technically, this song – if unfamiliar – will require some good song leaders, as the power comes from the interwoven parts. Drums will help too. Each part is really easy, but the coordination of them can be complex – hence the contradictory singability tags.

But oh, is it worth it. This is such a joyful, lively, energizing song.

May all feel the freedom this song demands.

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