Were You There

Were You There
Were we there? Well, we probably don't think so. We modern individualists don't identify existentially with some concept of the human race as a singular entity. We are quite sure about when we showed up on this planet and that we were not among those who "nailed him to the tree."

But what if the link to Calvary is not via some elusive notion of our identity in the whole human species? What if this haunting African-American spiritual is talking about our relationship to the very same God who suffered that day? Are we not then called to disquieting self-examination? Then do we not come together to say, "Yes, Lord, we were there" for "we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone."

Sobered, saddened, ashamed, we reach for the fourth verse. In venturing hope, we claim the promise of that day: "When God raised him from the tomb."

Ever-loving God, forgive us for the lynchings lurking in our acts of commission and omission. Clothe us in your grace and grant us, we pray, the transforming power of your resurrection. Amen.
Hub
Were You There

1 Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh!
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

2 Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh!
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

3 Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
Oh!
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

4 Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh!
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?

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