So our friends the Brothers Judd added to their excerpt of my post below the YouTube link to the Blind Boys of Alabama singing “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” It deserves to be, of course, the authoritative traditional version. Here’s my first musical link, my Christmas gift to each of you.
I heard a different version tonight at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church—a very historic African-American church—on Broad Street in Rome, GA. Seven local black churches combined the best of their choirs—including stellar soloists—for a Christmas concert. They did a number of traditional Christmas carols in arrangements both respectful and imaginative. The only “Christmas spiritual” was “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” and the choir and the soloist did it justice in a somewhat different way from the Blind Boys. It was—and was meant to be—a particularly moving moment in the program.
Each carol or hymn was followed by just a bit of preaching. In this case of “Go Tell It” the message was that the song says don’t just tell it on the mountain, but everywhere you go. And the preacher listed a variety of seemingly unpromising places where the good news needs to be told. If you had just a moment to emphasize one point in the text, that was the right one.