Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals
Duke Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery, Th.D., an associate professor of homiletics at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book of daily devotions for the season of Lent that leads readers through African-American spirituals in confronting the mystery of Christ’s atoning death and victory over the grave.
The book, Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals, was published by Westminster John Knox Press on Jan. 8. Each selection includes the lyrics of the spiritual, a reflection by the author on the spiritual’s meaning, a Scripture verse related to that meaning, and a brief prayer.
The spirituals are considered valuable not only for their sublime musical expression but for their profound insights into the human condition and Christian life. Many of them focus on the climax of the Christian drama, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the ways in which those events bring about the liberation of God’s people.