“Battle Hymn of the Republic”

John Brown believed he could free the slaves, and in 1859, with a small band of dedicated men, raided the arsenal at Harpers Ferry to gain weapons and supplies to help the effort.  Thirty-six hours after the raid began, most of the men were wounded or killed, and John Brown was captured.  Abolitionist Brown was…

“Every Time I Feel the Spirit”

It is not always possible to find the story behind a song.  Songs classified as African-American spirituals, like this one, were typically created by slaves living in the southern United States in the pre-Civil War era.  The tunes and words were passed down for generations before even being written. If we try to guess what…

“I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me”

Anyone who knows me knows that for better or worse, I am a planner, a list-maker, an over-achieving perfectionist.  In spite of my color coded post-it notes, volumes of topically organized handwritten notes, meticulous scrap books and perfectly arranged sock drawer, there are only a few things is virtually nothing in my life that is the…

“God of Grace and God of Glory”

“God of grace and God of glory, on your people pour thy power.”  These opening words from the hymn with the same name set the mood for a majestic and jubilant hymn.  Although it is typically used as a processional hymn, I think it makes a particularly effective closing or recessional hymn, asking for God’s…