Friday, October 15, 2021

Repetitive Songs In Contemporary Black Worship Services Collection Marches: "Redeem" ("Give Me Some Water To Wash My Hands")


The Bethel Born Again Choir Jamaica singing and marching during the collecting of the offering. -snip- This video shows the choir (led by an usher) marching around the sanctuary singing two lines from Verse #2 of the song entitled "Redeem". The first line of that clip of "Redeem" "Give me some water, let me wash my hands" is repeated numerous times. Then the choir sings othe second line "I won't be guilty". (That line is itself only part of  the line in that song). The words "I won't be guilty" are repeated numerous times. Afterward, this pattern begins again - numerous times.

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post is part of an ongoing pancocojams series that highlights examples of repetitive songs in contemporary Black worship service collection marches (processionals). 

This post showcases two videos of Bethel Born Again Apostolic Church in Kingston, Jamaica singing the chorus of the song "Redeem" (also given as "Redeemed, I've Been Washed In The Blood Of The Lamb"). 

Selected comments from the discussion thread for these videos are also included in this post. 
The lyrics for the complete song are given in the comments for Video #2 along with some other comments from that discussion thread.  

The Addendum to this post presents a comment from a discussion thread of a Nov. 11, 2011 Bethel 
Born Again Apostolic Church in Kingston, Jamaica video. That comment compliments  the usher who led that choir and also presents the commenter's opinion about the purpose of these marches. The usher who leads the choir in both of the videos in this post may be the same young man as the usher who that commenter wrote about.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the composer/s of this song. Thanks also to Bethel Born Again Apostolic Church in Kingston, Jamaica for their ministeries. Thanks to BROTHERTENNYSON, the publisher of these videos on YouTube.

DISCLAIMER: "Black worship services" in this title means that all or most of the people in attendance at these worship services are Black. However, these songs can certainly be sung by non-Black people. 

In the title for this ongoing pancocojams series I'm highlighting the fact that these songs (or "choruses" to use the Pentecostal term) are repeated over and over again while the choir marches. I believe that this is an important feature of these marches as repetitive singing or chanting and repetitive movements can help bring down the Holy Spirit.

Click the "repetitive songs in Black worship services" tag to find additional pancocojams posts in this series. 

Also, click to read why I began this pancocojams series on Black church collection marches. That Pancocojams Editorial note also includes my overview (purposes) of this pancocojams series on Black church collections marches as well as an encouragement for those who are much more familiar with that tradition than me to add to the historical and cultural record by publishing online information and descriptions about that tradition.

Bethel Born Again Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic (Holy Convocation 2012)


The Bethel Born Again Church of Jesus Christ, Apostolic Mass Choir and the Kids Choir marching during the collecting of the offering on the last night of Holy Convocation 2012. The song is entitled: "Redeem". "The Bethel Born Again is in its 66th Year, but Celebrations 50 years of being at the Oakland Road location in Kingston".
This video shows the choirs (led by an usher) marching around the sanctuary while singing the complete song entitled "Redeem". 


Numbers are added for referencing purposes only.

Video #1

1. Kafi Zola, 2014
"I like the spirit, but it is difficult to understand what they are singing about.  The church I sometimes attend is too sophisticated to praise the Lord like this. I miss this type of worship."

""Give me some water, let me wash my hand, I won't be guilty" It is the line of the song "Redeemed, I've been washed in the blood of the lamb".
The words of that clip of the song "Redeem" (or "Redeemed, I've been washed in the blood of the lamb" are what Pontius Pilate, the Roman govenor of Judaea said when he presided over the trial of Jesus and then ordered Jesus to be crucified.   

CalledUntoHoliness, 2021
The won't be guilty part hits me everytime! Thank God for the cleansing blood and the water of his word that cleanses us!"

Video #2

"I've been so blessed, that's my church. Amen, give me some water let me wash my hands. I won't be guilty of an innocent man"

2. Cardi top, 2016
"1. Jesus was having his last passover

Judas was resting upon his shoulder

spoke those words and they were right

one of you going to betray me tonight.

then they began to enquire within,

which of us will do such awful thing"

Mark cried out "Lord is it I"

Luke cried out "Lord is it I"

John cried out Lord is it I

Judas cried out Lord is it I

and they all cried out Lord is it I


Redeem, redeem, redeem, redeem, I've been washed in the blood of the lamb

2.  Judas been that deceitful man

'twas he would betray that innocent lamb

thirty piece of silver and it was done

but he himself in the woods did hang

Pilot's wife she had a dream

that innocent man she never had seen

give me some water let me wash my hands

I won't be guilty of that innocent man

3.  Jerusalem been six furlongs off

there they nailed him to the Romans cross

they ribbit his hands and they nailed his feet

the hammers were heard in Jerusalem street

he called his father, called him in love

the doors and the Windows stood open above

saints wear girdles around their waist

the angels took their wings and Vailed their face"
These lyrics are from two comments that Cardi top posted on that discussion thread. The second comment was written right after the first one and is a slight correction to the lyrics that were previously given.

3. Tamara Bennett, 2018
Is this a revival church"

"Tamara Bennett, Praise the Lord Jesus, It is not a revival church. The church that is featured is an Apostolic Church. The excerpt is of the collection of the offering and this is the ministry of the choir singing and marching. Be blessed"


A Grand Meeting - Part 2*, published by Bethel Born Again Church Of Jesus Christ, November 22, 2021


Christopher Patterson, 2013
"i used to march a choir some years ago and i happen to know how it is done,,this boy is the best i have every seen i want to meet him..the marching of a choir is a ministry all by its self. this is a true display of ministry. Notice that he not only marches with is feet only but his hands(for taring down strong holds) and his whole body. and the expression on his face show seriousness..putting his whole soul in it. his whole body movement strongly tells of leading into a warefar mode(which is what marching a choir is all about...ref; joshua leading the children of Isreal into battle at jericho)....very well done usher...keep on doing the work of God,he will allow some one to minister to u in a different way when the time are a very good example of a true minister...u have minister to me in a way that u would never understand....u have now caused me to make a serious decision to go back into minister...thanks my brother. i wish to see you personnally one day and bless you with some substance just as you have ministered to me."
Thank you Christopher Patterson. I added this comment to this pancocojams post because I found what you wrote about the usher leading these marches that are featured in this post and what you wrote about the purpose of  Apostolic marches in general to be profound and somewhat obvious once you think about it. (And perhaps the purpose that you noted for these marches is the same for the African American church choir processionals that used to begin church services but now seldom occur.)

Until I read this comment, I hadn't connected Joshua leading a march around Jericho to the contemporary choirs as God's army marching around the church to fortify the sanctuary from Satan and his forces. Now I get that those marching are a demonstration that they can trample Satan and that they are trampling Satan just like numerous old time church songs said.

And, after reading that comment, it occurs to me that the reason why these Jamaican (and Jamaican influenced) Apostolic church choirs march during the offering is to help ensure that  no evil forces mess with the money that has been collected. 

Prior to reading that comment from Christopher Patterson, I believed that the offering marches as well as the choir marches that began church services were a way of calling forth the Holy Spirit and praising God. I believe those reasons are still true. I also postulated that these Jamaican processional "walk arounds" were an evolution of the 18th century, 19th century and later "ring shouts". I think that that theory is still quite plausible. But maybe the ring shout is a better explanation for the tradition some people have of running around the sanctuary when they feel the Holy Spirit.

I also believe that Black church marches -including those done during collection- occur (or occurred) for the marcher and congregation's visual and aural pleasure. They are fun to watch. A lot of processions are a good show and Black people love being "extra" (going beyond the expected norms). That may explain the sideways formation that are shown in the video of a Jamaican Apostolic choir that is showcased in this pancocojams post:

Black people's admiration of pagentry may also explain the moving forward while facing backwards that I observed an AME (African Methodist Espicopal) choir perform during a collection march in New Jersey in 2019. My description of that march is included in that same post. 

I'm interested in your thoughts about what Christopher Patterson wrote and what I wrote about why and how these Jamaican walk around marches during offerings occur the way they do and occur when they do.

There's too little information and comments online about these and other Black church marches. Please add to this discussion.   

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