Will Campbell: Jesus sounds

Read this today and had my heart broke all over again.

We watched them until they were out of hearing. And we listened for a long time after that. At those sounds. Whether the sounds we were hearing were those of a buried or modified culture, merging with another as the dirt road merged with the bigger one being elsewhere, it would not have occurred to us at the time to ponder. But later we would remember them as the articulation and recitation of two hundred years of pathos. An emancipation which still had not reached them, or us, if in fact it had reached anywhere at all. A manumission inferred by Christian proselytizers, but undelivered by the steeples and structures they represented. Whether West African or European, Nigerian or Mississippian in origin, they were the pleadings of an African peasant woman to the son of a Jewish peasant woman to be with her in her travail.

They were Jesus sounds, absorbed from a nation and a culture Jesus was alleged to have had a hand in founding and forming, drawing, too, on a nation and a culture where he had not been known at all, yet meaning more to that which was African in this scene than he had ever meant to that which was American in it. 

And they were sounds which would not soon depart from us. 

 — Will Campbell, Brother to a Dragonfly, 62.

Jesus sounds break the heart and make it alive again.