In a small chapel in Gettysburg PA, voices were raised as these words carried through the chapel: “Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Oh freedom, Freedom is coming, Oh yes I Know; Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, Jesus is coming, oh yes I know!” These words were joyfully lifted to the Lord that night. It’s a memory that is forever engrained in my mind.
My small group was to lead worship on Thursday night (the Thursday before Martin Luther King Jr. day). A couple of them had suggested “Freedom is Coming” from the This Far By Faith hymnal so that is what we sung. That day was an extremely difficult day because that morning we received news that Wartburg Seminary student Ben Larson had lost his life in the Haiti earthquake. Having planned worship a week before, we decided to continue with our worship that night which still included “Freedom is Coming.” I remember watching and listening as our voices were lifted joyfully to the Lord as we sang this magnificent African American hymn. The next day we were reading a blog that someone had posted from Ben’s senior year of college and he talked about international music and the song Freedom is Coming and how that song was a song that was very important to him. Little did we know when we planned worship what this hymn meant to Ben. The Holy Spirit truly works in mysterious ways!
Today as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I am reminded of all that MLK Jr. did for us. I also am reminded of why Ben, Renee, and Jon were in Haiti. What beautiful witnesses to faith! Yes, there are times when it is hard to share that faith or see that faith because of all the evil in the world around us. Yet with hope, I believe that freedom is coming. Christ promised to come again to judge the living and the dead. And in that moment, it seems to me that true freedom will be reached.
And so may we all lift our voices declaring that “Freedom is coming!” (I found this video of children’s choir singing in Uganda. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!)