Reflections on songs of justice and resilience: themes for Advent 1 from Mary’s Magnificat (song) in Luke 1.

PLAY LISTS: Justice Songs (some lists)

  • Social justice songs: link
  • Songs about class and poverty: link 
  • Songs to listen to while fighting for social justice: link
  • Civil rights songs that promote freedom and justice: link

Questions to consider (Luke 1):

  • What songs of justice are on your play list?
  • When have you stood and sung for justice, or in resistance to injustice? What was at stake?
  • Who still needs songs of justice in this world?
  • When you sing for justice, do you sing solo or as part of a group or community? When and how would you choose either role?

One Song — Rumi

Every war and every conflict between human beings
has happened because of some disagreement about names.

It is such an unnecessary foolishness,
because just beyond the arguing
there is a long table of companionship
set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.
All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks a little different on this wall
than it does on that wall
and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still one light.

We have borrowed these clothes,
these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise,
we are pouring them back in.

Of Songs and Music: Love Beyond Language

Then the singing enveloped me. It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart. There was no sense of performance or judgment, only that the music was breath and food. ― Anne Lamott

You are the music while the music lasts. — T.S. Eliot

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination …— Plato

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. Plato

Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought. ― E.Y. Harburg

Thus, though music be a universal language, it is spoken with all sorts of accents. — George Bernard Shaw

There is as much music in the world as virtue. In a world of peace and love music would be the universal language … All things obey music as they obey virtue. It is the herald of virtue. It is God’s voice. — Henry David Thoreau

Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones. — Keith Richards

If music be the food of love, play on. — William Shakespeare

If I cannot fly, let me sing. – Stephen Sondheim

Without music, life would be a mistake.  – Friedrich Nietzsche

The only thing better than singing is more singing. – Ella Fitzgerald

The greatest respect an artist can pay to music is to give it life. – Pablo Casals

Love, I find, is like singing. ― Zora Neale Hurston

She sang, as requested. There was much about love in the ballad: faithful love that refused to abandon its object; love that disaster could not shake; love that, in calamity, waxed fonder, in poverty clung closer. The words were set to a fine old air — in themselves they were simple and sweet: perhaps, when read, they wanted force; when well sung, they wanted nothing. Shirley sang them well: she breathed into the feeling, softness, she poured round the passion, force … ― Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Songs as Justice & Resistance

Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples. … To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim … that death is not the final word. To defiantly say, once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, we still make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber,Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

Do it. Hell, get the song taken down if you want. But you’ll never silence me. I got too goddamn much to say. ― Angie Thomas, On the Come Up

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. — Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. — Victor Hugo

Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. — Jimi Hendrix

Sirens everywhere, singing that street song. Violence everywhere, barely holding on… — Alicia Keyes

Turnin nothin into somethin, is God work, And you get nothin without struggle and hard work— Nas

Writing, painting, singing- it cannot stop everything. Cannot halt death in its tracks. But perhaps it can make the pause between death’s footsteps sound and look and feel beautiful, can make the space of waiting a place where you can linger without as much fear. For we are all walking each other to our deaths, and the journey there between footsteps makes up our lives. ― Ally Condie, Reached