GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN By James BaldwinFirst Published in With an Introduction by Andrew O'HaganINTRODUCTI. Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain By Sherry Ann McNett IN THIS BOOK □ Learn about the Life and Background of the. Get news about Literary Fiction books, authors, and more. “With vivid imagery, with lavish attention to details, Mr. Baldwin has told his feverish story.”. “This is a distinctive book, both realistic and brutal, but a novel of extraordinary sensitivity and poetry.”.
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editor of Go Tell It on the Mountain who asks him to remove “all that come-to-. Jesus stuff” from the novel (xiv). Baldwin explains that the novel “is the study of. James Baldwin's autobiographical novel “Go Tell It On The. Mountain” explores the dual role of the Christian church in the lives of African-Americans: It is. Since its original publication in , this volume has attained classic status. Now its contents have been updated and its cultural framework enlarged by the.
Then Roy sat up, and said in shaking voice: John thought for that moment that his father believed the words had come from him, his eyes were so wild and depthlessly malevolent, and his mouth was twisted into such snarl of pain.
Then his father turned and looked down at Roy. Roy said nothing; neither did he drop his eyes. Let us pray…. Tear were in his eyes. But he did not cry out. And the belt was raised again, and again. The air rang with the whistling, and the crack! And the baby, Ruth, began to scream. His mother rushed over to the sofa and caught Roy in her arms, crying as John had never seen a woman, or anybody, cry before.
Roy caught his mother around the neck and held on to her as though he were drowning. Hid Aunt Florence and his father faced each other.
You ought to know that by now. Tarry service officially began at eight, but it could begin at any time, whenever the Lord moved one of the saints to enter the church and pray. It was seldom, however, that anyone arrived before eight-thirty, the Spirit of the Lord being sufficiently tolerant to allow the saints time to do their Saturday-night shopping, clean their houses, and put their children to bed.
John closed the door behind him and stood in the narrow church aisle, hearing behind him the voices of children playing, and ruder voices, the voices of their elders, cursing and crying in the streets. It was dark in the church; street lights had been snapping on all around him on the populous avenue; the light of the day was gone.
His feet seemed planted on this wooden floor; they did not wish to carry him one step further. The darkness and silence of the church pressed on him, cold as judgment, and the voices crying from the window might have been crying from another world. John moved forward, hearing his feet crack against the sagging wood, to where the golden cross on the red field of the altar cloth glowed like smothered fire, and switched on one weak light.
The saints, arriving, had rented this abandoned store and taken out the fixtures; had painted the walls and built a pulpit, moved in a piano and camp chairs, and bought the biggest Bible they could find. And the Lord, as He had promised to the two or three first gathered together, sent others; and these brought others and created a church.
From this parent branch, if the Lord blessed, other branches might grow and a mighty work be begun throughout the city and throughout the land. In the history of the Temple the Lord has raised up evangelists and teachers and prophets, and called them out into the field to do His work; to do up and down the land carrying the gospel, or to raise other temples—in Philadelphia, Georgia, Boston, or Brooklyn.
Wherever the Lord led, they followed. Every now and again one of them came home to testify of the wonders the Lord had worked through him, or her. And sometimes on a special Sunday they all visited one of the nearest churches of the Brotherhood. There had been a time, before John was born, when his father had also been in the field; but now, having to earn for his family their daily bread, it was seldom that he was able to travel further away than Philadelphia, and then only for a very short time.
His father no longer, as he had once done, led great revival meetings, his name printed large on placards that advertised the coming of a man of God. His father had once had a mighty reputation; but all this, it seemed, had changed since he had left the South. Perhaps he ought now to have a church of his own—John wondered if his father wanted that; he ought, perhaps, to be leading, as Father James now led, a great flock to the Kingdom. But his father was only a caretaker in the house of God.
He was responsible for the replacement of burnt-out light bulbs, and for the cleanliness of the church, and the care of the Bibles, and the hymn-books, and the placards on the walls.
Rarely did he bring the message on a Sunday morning; only if there was no one else to speak was his father called upon. He was a kind of fill-in speaker, a holy handyman. Yet he was treated, so far as John could see, with great respect. No one, none of the saints in any case, had ever reproached or rebuked his father, or suggested that that his life was anything but spotless.
John has swept one side of the church and the chairs were still piled in the space before the altar when there was a knocking at the door. When he opened the door he saw that it was Elisha, come to help him. This was the greeting always used among the saints. Bother Elisha came in, slamming the door behind him and stamping his feet. He had probably just come from a basket-ball court; his forehead was polished with recent sweat and his hair stood up.
He was wearing his green woolen sweater, on which was stamped the letter of his high school, and his shirt was open at the throat. John asked, staring at him. He felt unaccustomedly bold and lighthearted; the arrival of Elisha had caused his mood to change. Elisha, who had started down the aisle towards the back room, turned to stare at John with astonishment and menace.
You just wait till I wash my hands. Just take hold of that mop and put some soap and water in the bucket. You better learn how to talk to old folks. John heard him in the toilet, and then over the thunderous water he heard him knocking things over in the back room. Elisha had knocked over a pile of camp chairs, folded in the corner, and stood over them angrily, holding the mop in his hand.
Usually such a battle was soon over, since Elisha was so much bigger and stronger and as a wrestler so much more skilled; but to-night John was filled with a determination not to be conquered, or at least to make the conquest dear. With all the strength that was in him he fought against Elisha, and he was filled with a strength that was almost hatred.
It was a deadlock; he could not tighten his hold, John could not break it. They stared at each other, half grinning. John slumped to the floor, holding his head between his hands. Elisha asked.
John looked up. No, I just want to catch my breath. He found that his legs were trembling. He looked at Elisha, who was drying himself on the towel. You too strong for me. John walked past him to the front and picked up his broom.
In a moment Elisha followed and began mopping near the door. John had finished sweeping, and he now mounted to the pulpit to dust the three throne-like chairs, purple, with white linen squares for the headpieces and for the massive arms.
It dominated all, the pulpit: There faced the congregation, flowing downwards from this height, the scarlet altar cloth that bore the golden cross and the legend: The pulpit was holy.
He dusted the piano and sat down on the piano stool to wait until Elisha had finished mopping on side of the church and he could replace the chairs. Suddenly Elisha said, without looking at him: He touched a black key on the piano and it made a dull sound, like a distant drum.
He saw him standing—had Elisha forgotten? Elisha grinned. But I thought about it, and the Lord made me to see that he was right.
Just fall on your knees one day and ask him to help you to pray? He thought of a First Sunday, a Communion Sunday not long ago when the saints, dressed all in white, ate flat, unsalted Jewish bread, which was the body of the Lord, and drank red grape juice, which was His blood. When the service was over they had kissed each other with a holy kiss. John turned again and looked at Elisha. Elisha looked at him and smiled. John sat on a chair in the front row and watched him.
Elisha did not arrest his playing of a mournful song: And as he spoke there was a knocking on the door. Elisha stopped playing. They entered, heads bowed and hands folded before them around their Bibles.
They bore the black cloth coats that they wore all week and they had old felt hats on their heads. John felt a chill as they passed him, and he closed the door. Elisha stood up, and they cried again: This was also passionate ritual. Each entering saint, before he could take part in the service, must commune for a moment alone with the Lord. John watched the praying women. Elisha sat again at the piano and picked up his mournful song. Her voice was mild, her skin was copper.
She was younger than Sister McCandless by several years, a single woman who had never, as she testified, known a man. Him and me cleaned up this evening. To-night she was still very much under the influence of the sermon she had preached the night before. She was an enormous woman, one of the biggest and blackest God had ever made, and He had blessed her with a mighty voice with which to sing and preach, and she was going out soon into the field.
For many years the Lord had pressed Sister McCandless to get up, as she said, and move; but she had been of timid disposition and feared to set herself above the others. Not until He laid her low, before this very altar, had she dared to rise and preach the gospel. But now she had buckled on her traveling shoes. She would cry aloud and spare not, and lift up her voice like a trumpet in Zion.
Elisha frowned and thrust out his lower lip. Sister McCandless stared at him. Then she laughed. For a moment John hated her, and he stared at her fat, black profile in anger. Sister Price said: I sure hate to walk in a church where folks is just sitting and talking.
Look like it takes all my spirit away. Elisha began a song: He rose and mounted the pulpit steps, and took from the small opening at the bottom of the pulpit three tambourines.
He gave one to Sister McCandless, who nodded and smile, not breaking her rhythm, and he put the rest on a chair near Sister Price.
And he thought to clap his hands, but he could not; they remained tightly folded in his lap. If he did not sing they would be upon him, but his heart told him that he had no right to sing or to rejoice. The Lord had lifted him up, and turned him around, and set his feet on the shining way. What were the thought of Elisha when night came, and he was alone where no eye could see, and no tongue bear witness, save only the trumpet-like tongue of God?
Were his thought, his bed, his body foul? What were his dreams? He turned to see, entering the door, his father, his mother, and his aunt. It was only the presence of his aunt that shocked him, for she had never entered this church before: It was in all her aspect, quiet with a dreadful quietness, as she moved down the aisle behind his mother and knelt for a moment beside his mother and father to pray. John knew that it was the hand of the Lord that had led her to this place, and his heart grew cold.
The Lord was riding on the wind to-night. What might that wind have spoken before the morning came? Florence raised her voice in the only song she could remember that her mother used to sing: She did not look at him. Her thoughts were all on God. After a moment, the congregation and the piano joined her: This had always been his spirit. Nothing had ever changed it; nothing ever would. But she strangled her pride, rising to stand with them in the holy space before the altar, and still singing: As a child, the song had made her see a woman, dressed in black, standing in infinite mists alone, waiting for the form of the Son of God to lead her through the white fire.
Go Tell It on the Mountain | Study Guide
This woman now returned to her, more desolate; it was herself, not knowing where to put her foot; she waited trembling, for the mists to be parted that she might walk in peace. For her feet stood on the edge of that river which her mother, rejoicing, had crossed over. And would the Lord now reach out His hand to Florence and heal and save? But, going down before the scarlet cloth at the foot of the golden cross, it came to her that she had forgotten how to pray.
Neither love nor humility had led her to the altar, but only fear. And God did not hear the prayers of the fearful, for the hearts of the fearful held no belief. Such prayers could rise no higher that the lips that uttered them. Was this the way to pray?
In the church that she had joined when she first came North one knelt before the altar once only, in the beginning, to ask for forgiveness of sins; and this accomplished, one was baptized and became a Christian, to kneel no more thereafter. It was indecent, the practice of common niggers to cry aloud at the foot of the altar, tears streaming for all the world to see.
She had never done it, not even as a girl down home in the church they had gone to in those days. Now perhaps it was too late, and the Lord would suffer her to die in the darkness in which she had lived so long.
In the olden days God had healed His children. He had caused the blind to see, the lame to walk, and He had raised dead men from the grave.
But Florence remembered one phrase, which now she muttered against the knuckles that bruised her lips: Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not live. Many nights ago, as she turned on her bed, this message came to her. For many days and nights the message was repeated; there had been time, then, to turn to God. But she had thought to evade him, seeking among the women she knew for remedies; and then, because the pain increased, she had sought doctors; and when the doctors did no good she had climbed stairs all over town to rooms where incense burned and where men or women in traffic with the devil gave her white powders, or herbs to make tea, and cast spells upon her to take the sickness away.
The burning in her bowels did not cease—that burning which, eating inward, took the flesh visibly from her bones and caused her to vomit up her food. Then one night she found death standing in the room. Blacker than night, and gigantic, he filled one corner of her narrow room, watching her with eyes like the eyes of a serpent when his head is lifted to strike.
Then she screamed and called on God, turning on the light. And death departed, but she knew he would be back. Every night would bring him a little closer to her bed.
Her mother, in rotting rags filling the room with the stink of the grave, stood over her to curse the daughter who had denied her on her deathbed. Gabriel came, from all his times and ages, to curse the sister who had held him to scorn and mocked his ministry.
Deborah, black, her body as shapeless and hard as iron, looked on with veiled, triumphant eyes, cursing the Florence who had mocked her in her pain and barrenness. Frank came, even he, with that same smile, the same tilt of his head. Of them all she would have begged forgiveness, had they come with ears to hear. But they came like many trumpets; even if they had come to hear and not to testify it was not they who could forgive her, but only God.
The piano had stopped. All around her now were only the voices of the saints.
It was night, the windows were shut tightly with the shades drawn, and the great table was pushed against the door. The kerosene lamps burned low and made great shadows on the newspaper-covered wall. Her mother, dressed in the long, shapeless, colorless dress that she bore every day but Sunday, when she wore white, and with her head tied up in a scarlet cloth, knelt in the center of the room, her hands hanging loosely folded before her, her black face lifted, her eyes shut.
The weak, unsteady light placed shadows under her mouth and in the sockets of her eyes, making the face impersonal with majesty, like the face of a prophetess, or like a mask. No one moved. Gabriel, from his corner near the stove, looked up and watched his mother. His mother turned, one hand raised. Their neighbor Deborah, who was sixteen, three years older than Florence, had been taken away into the fields the night before by many white men, where they did things to her to make her cry and bleed.
They had beaten him and left him for dead. Now, everyone had shut their doors, praying and waiting, for it was said that the white folks would come to-night and set fire to all the houses, as they had done before.
The hoofbeats came to the door and passed, and rang, while they listened, ever more faintly away. Then Florence realized how frightened she had been. She watched her mother rise and walk to the window. She peered out through a corner of the blanket that covered it. Thus had her mother lived and died; and she had often been brought lo, but she had never been forsaken. She had always seemed to Florence the oldest woman in the world, for she often spoke of Florence and Gabriel as the children of her old age, and she had been born, innumerable years ago, during slavery, on a plantation in another state.
Solo voice sheet music
When she was a woman grown, well past thirty as she reckoned it, with one husband buried—but the master had given her another—armies, plundering and burning, had come from the North to set them free. This was in answer to the prayers of the faithful, who had never ceased, both day and night, to cry out for deliverance. For it had been the will of God that they should hear, and pass thereafter, one to another, the story of the Hebrew children who had been held in bondage in the land of Egypt; and how the Lord had heard their groaning, and how His heart was moved; and how He bid them wait but a little season till He should send deliverance.
And while she lived—rising in the morning before the sun came up, standing and bending in the fields when the sun was high, crossing the fields homeward when the sun went down at the gates of Heaven far away, hearing the whistle of the foreman and his eerie cry across the fields; in the whiteness of winter when hogs and turkeys and geese were slaughtered, and lights burned bright in the big house, and Bathsheba, the cook, sent over in a napkin bits of ham and chicken and cakes left over by the white folks—in all that befell: She had only to endure and trust in God.
She knew that the big house, the house of pride where the white folks lived, would come down; it was written in the Word of God. They, who walked so proudly now, had nor fashioned for themselves or their children so sure a foundation as was hers.
They walked on the edge of a steep place and their eyes were sightless—God would cause them to rush down, as the herd of swine had once rushed down, into the sea. For all that they were so beautiful, and took their ease, she knew them, and she pitied them, who would have no covering in the great day of His wrath.
Yet, she told her children, God was just, and He struck no people without first giving many warnings. God gave men time, but all the times were in His hand, and one day the time to forsake evil and do good would all be finished: In all the days that she was growing up, signs failed not, but none heeded. All these signs, like the plagues with which the Lord had afflicted Egypt, only hardened the hearts of these people against the Lord. They thought the lash would save them, and they used the lash; or the knife, or the gallows, or the auction block; they thought that kindness would save then, and the master and mistress came down, smiling, to the cabins, making much of the pickaninnies and bearing gifts.
These were great days, and they all, black and white, seemed happy together. But when the Word has gone forth from the mouth of God nothing can turn it back. The Word was fulfilled one morning, before she was awake. Many of the stories her other told meant nothing to Florence; she knew them for what they were, tales told by an old black woman in a cabin in the evening to distract her children from their cold and hunger.
But the story of this day she was never to forget; it was a day for which she lived. There was a great running and shouting, said her mother, everywhere outside, and, as she opened her eyes to the light of that day, so bright, she said, and cold, she was certain that the judgment trumpet had sounded.
While she still sat, amazed, and wondering what, on the judgment day, would be the best behavior, in rushed Bathsheba and behind her many tumbling children and field hands and house niggers, all together, and Bathsheba shouted: On that day she saw the proud house humbled; green silk and velvet blowing out of windows, and the garden trampled by many horsemen, and the big gate open.
The master and mistress, and their kin, and one child she had borne were in that house—which she did not enter. Soon it occurred to her that there was no longer any reason to tarry here. She tied her things in a cloth that she put on her head, and walked out through the big gate, never to see that country any more.
Her father, whom she scarcely remembered, had departed that way one morning not many months after the birth of Gabriel. And not only her father; every day she heard that another man or woman had said farewell to this iron earth and sky, and started on the journey north. But her mother had no wish to go North where, she said, wickedness dwelt and Death rode mighty through the streets. She was content to stay in this cabin and do washing for the white folks, though she was old and her back was sore.
And she wanted Florence, also, to be content—helping with the washing, and fixing meals and keeping Gabriel quiet. If he had never been born, Florence might have looked forward to a day when she would be released from her unrewarding round of labor, when she might think of her own future and go out to make it.
With the birth of Gabriel, which occurred when she was five, her future was swallowed up. Her mother did not, indeed, think of it as sacrifice, but as logic: Florence was a girl, and would by and by be married, and have children of her own, and all the duties of a woman; and this being so, her life in the cabin was the best possible preparation for her future life.
And he needed the education that Florence desired far more than he, and that she might have got if he had not been born. It was Gabriel who was slapped and scrubbed each morning and sent off to the one-room schoolhouse— which he hated, and where he managed to learn, so far as Florence could discover, almost nothing at all.
And often he was not at school, but getting into mischief with other boys. Their mother would walk out into the yard and cut a switch from a tree and beat him—beat him, it seemed to Florence, until any other boy would have fallen down dead; and so often that any other boy would have ceased his wickedness.
Nothing stopped Gabriel, though he made Heaven roar with his howling, though he screamed aloud, as his mother approached, that he would never be such a bad boy again. And, after the beating, his pants still down around his knees and his face wet with tears and mucus, Gabriel was made to kneel down while his mother prayed. She asked Florence to pray, too, but in her heart Florence never prayed.
She hoped that Gabriel would break his neck. She wanted the evil against which their mother prayed to overtake him one day. When men looked at Deborah they saw no father that her unlovely and violated body. In their eyes lived perpetually a lewd, uneasy wonder concerning the night she had been taken in the fields. That night had robbed her of the right to be considered a woman. No man would approach her in honor because she was a living reproach, to herself and to all black women and to all black men.
If she had been beautiful, and if God had not given her a spirit so demure, she might, with ironic gusto, have acted out that rape in the field for ever.
Since she could not be considered a woman, she could only be looked on as a harlot, a source of delight more bestial and mysteries more shaking than any a proper woman could provide.
Lust stirred in the eyes of men when they look at Deborah, lust that could not be endured because it was so impersonal, limiting communion to the area of her shame.
One Sunday at a camp-meeting, when Gabriel was twelve years old and was to be baptized, Deborah and Florence stood on the banks of a river along with all the other folks and watched him.
Gabriel had not wished to be baptized. The thought had frightened and angered him, but his mother insisted that Gabriel was now of an age to be responsible before God for his sins—she would not shirk the duty, laid on her by the Lord, of doing everything within he power to bring him to the throne of grace.
Standing out, waist-deep and robed in white, was the preacher, who would hold their heads briefly under the water, crying out to Heaven as the baptized held his breath: Standing bear the shore were the elders of the church, holding towels with which to cover the newly baptized, who were then led into the tents, one for either sex, where they could change their clothes.
At last, Gabriel, dressed in an old white shirt and short linen pants, stood on the edge of the water.
Then he was slowly led into the river, where he had so often splashed naked, until he reached the preacher. And the moment that the preacher threw him down, crying out the words of John the Baptist, Gabriel began to kick and sputter, nearly throwing the preacher off balance; and though at first they thought that it was the power of the Lord that worked in him, they realized as he rose, still kicking and with his eyes tightly shut, that it was only fury, and too much water in his nose.
Some folks smiled, but Florence and Deborah did not smile. Though Florence had also been indignant, years before when the slimy water entered her incautiously open mouth, she had done her best not to sputter, and she had not cried out.
But now, here came Gabriel, floundering and furious up the bank, and what she looked at, with an anger more violent than any she had felt before, was his nakedness. He was drenched, and his thin, white clothes clung like another skin to his black body.
I hate him! Big, black, prancing tomcat of a nigger! She had thought to wait until her mother, who was so ill now that she no longer stirred out of bed, should be buried—but suddenly she knew that she would wait no longer, the time had come.
She had been working as cook and serving-girl for a large white family in town, and it was on the day her master proposed that she become his concubine that she knew her life among these wretched people had come to its destined end. She left her employment that same day leaving behind her a most vehement conjugal bitterness , and with part of the money that with cunning, cruelty, and sacrifice she had saved over a period of years, bought a railroad ticket to New York. When she bout it, in a kind of scarlet rage, she held like a talisman at the back of her mind the thought: Gray clouds obscured the sun that day, and outside the cabin window she saw that mist still covered the ground.
Her mother lay in bed, awake; she was pleading with Gabriel, who had been out drinking the night before, and who was not really sober now, to mend his ways and come to the Lord. And Gabriel, full of the confusion, and pain, and guilt that were his whenever he thought of how he made his mother suffer, but that became nearly insupportable when she taxed him with it, stood before the mirror, head bowed, buttoning his shirt.
Florence knew that he could not unlock his lips to speak; he could not say yes to his mother, and to the Lord; and he could not say no.
You hear me, boy? She put down her bag in the center of the hateful room. She had not trusted herself to withstand the night before; but now there was almost no time t. The center of her mind was filled with the image of the great, white clock at the railway station, on which the hands did not cease to move.
But she knew that her mother had understood, had indeed long before this moment known that this time would come.
All this Florence knew in a moment, and it made her stronger. She watched her mother, waiting. Where you think you going? I got my ticket. For a moment no one said a word. Then, Gabriel, in a changed and frightened voice, asked: She continued to watch her mother. And you going to walk off and leave your mother—just like that?
He could not endure the thought of being left alone with his mother, with nothing whatever to put between himself and his guilty love. And his mother required of him one proof only, that he tarry no longer in sin. With Florence gone, his stammering time, his playing time, contracted with a bound to the sparest interrogative second, when he must stiffen himself, and answer to his mother, and all the host of Heaven, yes or no.
Florence smiled inwardly a small, malicious smile, watching his slow bafflement, and panic, and rage: She looked away from her mother, and straightened, catching her breath, looking outwards through the small, cracked window. There outside, beyond the slowly rising mist, and farther off that her eyes could see, her life awaited her.
The woman on the bed was old, her life was fading as the mist rose. She thought of her mother as already in the grave; and she would not let herself be strangled by the hands of the dead. She looked up into his face and saw that his eyes were full of tears. She need a woman, Florence, to help look after her. What she going to do here, all alone with me? She had granted Florence the victory—with a promptness that had the effect of making Florence, however dimly and unwillingly, wonder if her victory was real.
And all of this filled Florence with terrible fear, which, which was immediately transformed into anger.
Go tell it on the mountain
Is you, boy? He stood, stupid with bewilderment and grief, a few inches from the bed. Lord, have mercy on my sinful daughter! Stretch out your hand and hold her back from the lake that burns forever! Oh, my Lord, my Lord! She opened the door; the cold, morning air came in. And then to Gabriel: Gabriel watched her, standing frozen between the door and the weeping bed.
Then, as her hand was on the gate, he ran before her, and slammed the gate shut. What you doing? You reckon on finding some men up North to dress you in pearls and diamonds? He watched her with his jaw hanging, and his lips loose and wet. Only the yellow, moaning light shone above them, making their faces gleam like muddy gold. Their faces, and their attitudes, and their many voices rising as one voice made John think of the deepest valley, the longest night, of Peter and Paul in the dungeon cell, one praying while the other sang; or of endless, depthless, swelling water, and no dry land in sight, the true believer clinging to a spar.
And, thinking of to-morrow, when the church would rise up, singing, under the booming Sunday light, he thought of the light for which they tarried, which, in an instant, filled the soul, causing throughout those iron-dark, unimaginable ages before John had come into the world the new-born in Christ to testify: Once I was blind and now I see.
And then they sang: Shine all around me by day and by night, Jesus, the light of the world. I want to be ready to walk in Jerusalem just like John. To-night, his mind was awash with visions: He was ill with doubt and searching. He longed for a light that would teach him, forever and forever, and beyond all question, the way to go; for a power that would bind him, forever and forever, and beyond all crying, to the love of God.
Or else he wished to stand up now, and leave this tabernacle and never see these people any more. Fury and anguish filled him, unbearable, unanswerable; his mind was stretched to breaking.
For it was time that filled his mind, time that was violent with the mysterious love of God. And his mind could not contain the terrible stretch of time that united twelve men fishing by the shores of Galilee, and black men weeping on their knees to-night, and he, a witness. My soul is a witness for my Lord. And not even a speculation, but a deep, deep turning, as of something huge, black, shapeless, for ages dead on the ocean floor, that now felt its rest disturbed by a faint, far wind, which bid it: And he looked around the church, at the people praying there.
Praying Mother Washington had not come in until all the saints were on their knees, and now she stood, the terrible, old, black , above his Aunt Florence, helping her to pray. Her granddaughter, Ella Mae, had come in with her, wearing a mangy fur jacket over her everyday clothes.
She knelt heavily in a corner near the piano, under the sign that spoke of the wage of sin, and now and again she moaned. Elisha had not looked up when she came in, and he prayed in silence: Another popular style for this hymn is bluegrass. This works particularly well for a praise band with a mandolin or banjo player, but acoustic guitar works as well.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, the Savior of the World. It could also be used during Epiphany to remind us that now that Christ has been revealed to us, we must also make him known among the nations. The refrain of the hymn references many passages in Isaiah that echo the call to proclaim good news from the mountain.
Suggested music:. Need help? New Feature: You can now embed Open Library books on your website! Learn More. Last edited by Sunny Jackson. October 16, History. Add another edition?
Go tell it on the mountain James Baldwin. Go tell it on the mountain Close. Want to Read. Are you sure you want to remove Go tell it on the mountain from your list? Go tell it on the mountain New Dell ed.And she wondered again what Frank had seen in this woman, who, though she was younger than Florence, had never been so pretty, and who drank all the time, and who was seen with many men. And how the lights, unceasing, crashed on and off above him, and how he was a stranger there.
He could not claim, as African savages might be able to claim, that no one had brought him the gospel. Between these two extremes, the greeting cards, received year after year, on Christmas, or Easter, or birthdays, trumpeted their glad tidings; while the green metal serpent, perpetually malevolent, raised its head proudly in the midst of these trophies, biding the time to strike.
In spite of the saints, his mother and his father, the warning he had heard from his earliest beginnings, he had sinned with his hands a sin that was hard to forgive. African American men. But he would not be sleeping. John had read about the things white people did to colored people; how, in the South, where his parents came from, white people cheated them of their wages, and burned them, and shot them—and did worse things, said his father, which the tongue could not endure to utter.
The pulpit was holy.
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