Bringing the Text to Life

Roll, Jordan, Roll Joshua 3:7-17

Roll, Jordan, Roll

Mahalia Jackson, the "Queen of Gospel" would have been 100 years old this week. Her life teaches us a lot about crossing over obstacles, just like the children of Israel did.

At a Glance

The material here starts with the famous gospel singer of a couple of generations ago, Mahalia Jackson. This week marks the 100th anniversary of her birth. Remembering Mahalia gives us an opportunity to explore the Jordan River metaphor as that which stands between us and a land of opportunity and blessing.

Editors' Pick

For material based on today's gospel reading, see "Burdened Vessels," November 3, 2002, at

Imagine the scene. It's 1950, and in Carnegie Hall, just off Broadway in New York City an historic event is taking place. The famous venue, which has hosted world-class musicians and singers throughout its history, now for the first time, sees a gospel singer take the stage, a colored singer at that. She glides to the stage and stands before a sea of faces that are not like her face -- at all! Lot of white folk there. But then the orchestra plays and then, from the depths of her soul, her powerful contralto voice brings forth the words:


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