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A traditional refrain during advent comes from the “O Antiphons:” O come, O come Emmanuel… . The names of Jesus in this ancient hymn remind us of the protection and salvation of God as it unfolds in history. The gospel song “Listen to the Lambs” echoes this longing for the presence of the shepherd.

The lambs are cryin’. Listen, Lord, the lambs are cryin’.

As the call goes out for liberation and salvation, we are reminded that the shepherd carries us, both now and always. Our cries do not fall on deaf ears; the savior, who is, and was, and is to come, hears and acts on our behalf. We don’t always know when, so we continue to call. We don’t always know how, so we continue to be open. We don’t always know where, so we keep travelling on the journey.

These recordings all include the refrain “listen to the lambs,” but there is also an improvisation element in each. Each group has emphasized (or created) different verses, and there is a wonderful variation in the intensity of the presentation.

The groups in this week’s playlist include choirs from Winston-Salem State University, Morehouse College, and Tuskegee Institute, as well as the Blind Boys of Alabama, and the James Cleveland (the King of Gospel Music) Singers.


ST#141 – Advent 2 “Listen to the Lambs”


And this week’s bonus is a 2017 recording of Advent and Christmas music from the Sistine Chapel Choir, featuring Cecilia Bartoli, the first woman to ever record, or sing!, in the Sistine Chapel. You can hear this recording if you have a (free or paid) Spotify account. This is the only place I have been able to find the entire album available.

Sistine Chapel Choir featuring Cecilia Bartoli on Spotify.