I Want to be Ready (Walk in Jerusalem)
I want to be ready (Walk in Jerusalem). African American spiritual*.
Heaven is a prevalent theme in the spirituals. Enslaved Africans longed for heaven—‘Deep river*, my home is over Jordan’. They imagined what heaven would be like—‘I’ve got a robe, you’ve got a robe, / All God’s children got a robe’. They were going to celebrate with Jesus in heaven—‘I’m gonna sit [eat] at the welcome table’. They were vigilant in watching for heaven—‘Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, / the time is drawing nigh’.
Black theologian James Cone, citing Benjamin Mays, notes that ‘heaven, hell, and judgment are central ideas in the black spirituals . . . Heaven is the home of the faithful which God has...
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