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These are the opening lyrics of a nineteenth century lament of a young enslaved child being sold away from his or her mother to a white person as property. The rendition by Odetta is particularly haunting; you can listen here:

I recall when my mother died and the depths of my sorrow, but then, my mother was in her mid-eighties and I was in my fifties. The pain of separation, while different in degree, resonates for me.

Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you”. John 15:18-20.

Spiritual loss is healed by lament and the assurance of God’s presence in and among us; the product is resilience. It is often manifested most clearly in song.

Recently I attended a training conducted by William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. One of the leadership roles within each chapter is that of a theomusicologist. Each team requires an artist who can create and lead songs to lament, bind up, encourage and challenge. Music reminds us that we are not alone, even when we feel most desolate. When we sing, we know we are not alone or abandoned. We have strength to carry on.

-The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector