Aaron Douglas & James Johnson: Listen Lord
O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before thy throne of grace.
O Lord -- this morning --
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning --
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
O Lord -- open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning.
Lord, have mercy on proud and dying sinners --
Sinners hanging over the mouth of hell,
Who seem to love their distance well.
Lord -- ride by this morning --
Mount your milk-white horse,
And ride-a this morning --
And in your ride, ride by old hell,
Ride by the dingy gates of hell,
And stop poor sinners in their headlong plunge.
And now, O Lord, this man of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning --
Shadow him in the hollow of thy hand,
And keep him out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take him, Lord -- this morning --
Wash him with hyssop inside and out,
Hang him up and drain him dry of sin.
Pin his ear to the wisdom-post,
And make his words sledge hammers of truth --
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning --
Put his eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let him look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine his imagination,
Put perpetual motion in his arms,
Fill him full of the dynamite of thy power,
Anoint him all over with the oil of thy salvation,
And set his tongue on fire.
And now, O Lord --
When I've done drunk my last cup of sorrow --
When I've been called everything but a child of God --
When I'm done travelling up the rough side of the mountain --
O -- Mary's Baby --
When I start down the steep and slippery steps of death --
When this old world begins to rock beneath my feet --
Lower me to my dusty grave in peace
To wait for that great gittin' up morning -- Amen.
James Weldon Johnson: God’s Trombones, The Viking Press, Inc, 1927.
Words above by James Weldon Johnson in God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse: Electronic Edition, see http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/johnson/johnson.html.
Image above by Aaron Douglas in God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse: Electronic Edition, see http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/johnson/johnson.html.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
For more materials for Lent, click here
More:- April 2023: Year A, Proper 17
- February 2023: Lent: James Janknegt: The Rich Man and Lazarus
- November 2022: Christmas - Brian Kershisnik: Nativity
- October 2022: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- June 2022: Michaelmas, September 29
- March 2022: Lent
- January 2022: The Speck and the Log
- November 2021: Advent - Care for the Earth
- September 2021: Year B, Proper 25
- May 2021: Year B, Proper 18 (Revised Common Lectionary)
- April 2021: Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: Seven Last Words of Christ
- February 2021: Year B, Lent 6: The Ointment of Nard by Arcabas
- January 2021: Year B, Epiphany 8
- December 2020: Advent: Butterfly
- August 2020: Year A, 21st Sunday after Pentecost: Psalm 1
- June 2020: A Year, 10th Sunday of the Summer
- May 2020: Pentecost: Donna Shasteen
- April 2020: The Scene in the Kitchen; Christ at Emmaus
- March 2020: The Seven Last Words of Christ
- January 2020: Year A, Epiphany 3
- November 2019: Edward Hicks: The Peaceable Kingdom
- October 2019: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- August 2019: Ordinary Time
- January 2019: The Speck and the Log
- December 2018: Botticelli: Madonna and Child, with Saints
- November 2018: Gor Chahal and Jan Krist
- August 2018: Year A, Autumn Sunday 8, Parable of the Talents
- May 2018: Ernst Barlach: The Believer
- March 2018: Easter: Grid Buster
- March 2018: Good Friday: I am Thirsty
- February 2018: Lent: The Rich Man and Lazarus
- January 2018: Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year B
- November 2017: Advent - Johannes Vermeer: Woman with Balance
- September 2017: A year, 6th Sunday of the Autumn
- August 2017: A Year, 10th Sunday of the Summer
- May 2017: Pentecost: Images for the Holy Spirit
- April 2017: Fra Angelico: Christ in Limbo
- February 2017: Roger Wagner: Lazarus (Psalm 49)
- January 2017: Gislebertus: The Dream of the Three Kings
- November 2016: Advent: Butterfly
- November 2016: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- September 2016: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- January 2016: 25 January - Caravaggio: The Conversion of Saul
- December 2015: Meditating on the Life of Christ
- November 2015: Gor Chahal and Jan Krist
- October 2015: Reformation Day: Luther and Durer
- August 2015: Ordinary Time
- June 2015: Van Gogh: The Sower
- February 2015: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman
- December 2010: Advent - Until He Comes!