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Lent 2019: "Were You There?"


Observe the Season of Lent through special services offered through the Chapel. For details, click the button below. Pastor Blevins’ sermon series, Were You There?, invites us to place ourselves in the Gospel stories at some of the places Jesus taught, healed, and prayed:

  • March 17: “Were You There in the Desert?” Luke 4:1-13

  • March 24: “Were You There in the Tree?” Luke 19:1-10

  • March 31: “Were You There in the Home?” John 12:1-8

  • April 7: “Were You There in the Upper Room?” (Communion) Luke 22:14-30

  • April 21: “Were You There on the Roadside?” (Palm Sunday) Luke 19:28-40

  • April 26: “Were You There on a Hill Far Away?” (Good Friday)

  • April 28: “Were You There in the Garden?” (Easter)

Throughout the season of Lent, we will sing the old spiritual “Were You There?” Included in almost every major hymnal of the last thirty years, “Were You There” is one of the most prominent and popular of the African-American spirituals. Yet, like most spirituals, the origins of “Were You There” are impossible to trace, borne not from the pen of an individual but out of the communal slave experience. As Paul Westermeyer notes in the companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship, its first published iteration came in 1899 in William E. Barton’s Old Plantation Songs in the section “Recent Negro Melodies.” There, it included four stanzas: 1) Were you there when they crucified my Lord?; 2) …when they nailed him to the cross?; 3) …when they pierced him in the side?; 4) …when the sun refused to shine. The United Methodist Hymnal, along with many other songbooks, includes a fifth: “…when they laid him in the tomb.”

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Earlier Event: March 3
70th Anniversary Celebration
Later Event: March 6
Drive Thru Ash Wednesday