Social Gospel

3 mins read

When I moved to Georgia in 2013, I had no idea that my journey would lead me to become a member of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, once led by MLK Jr. and now by Georgia’s first Black U.S. Senator-elect Rev. Raphael G. Warnock. I also did not know that I would become one of the singers at Ebenezer; my only desire was to find a church where I felt like I could grow and become a better person, and that is exactly what happened at Historic Ebenezer. 

The church’s urban-based global ministry is dedicated to individual growth and social transformation through living in the message and carrying out the mission of Jesus Christ. And that mission has included the development of a relationship between Ebenezer and The Temple of Atlanta, which for decades has held annual Shabbat services in honor of MLK. From those annual services, musical collaborations began to emerge between myself and Rabbi Micah Lapidus, whose compositions I was honored to record this year. 

One of these, “Praying with our Feet,” was written to honor the long-standing legacy of partnership in the area of civil rights between the Black and Jewish communities. When marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said he felt as though his feet were praying. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of the civil rights movement past and present. We’re not there yet, but “together we can” and “together we will.” 

Rabbi Lapidus said of another collaboration:

“As a rabbi in Georgia, Congressman John Lewis was and is a larger-than-life figure. On the one occasion that I met and spoke with him, I told him that I intended to write a song inspired by him entitled ‘Good Trouble.’ This song is an homage to Congressman Lewis of blessed memory as well as to the civil rights movement and interfaith cooperation more generally. Those familiar with the struggle for civil rights will recognize many familiar phrases and references.”

On this day, as we continue to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am grateful for the opportunity to share these two compositions by Rabbi Micah Lapidus, “Praying With Our Feet” and “Good Trouble.”

“Praying With Our Feet”
“Good Trouble”

“Atlanta – MLK Historic Site: Ebenezer Baptist Church” by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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