I recall one of the last times I mentioned these encouraging four words to the congregation I served as pastor. I rendered the title prophet to the originator of these words. Three years after my use of them, in the form of sermonic creativity, these encouraging four words have made their round through another voice that is not my own.
These encouraging four words — “We gon’ be alright!” The first time I used them, I quoted Kendrick Lamar or Prophet Kendrick Lamar as I named him. This second time around, Pastor Tye Tribbett released a single of the same name just a week ago today.
You might be tired of hearing and seeing those words. You, the medical personnel who are working the front line in hospitals, clinics and homes. You, the cashiers, the people who stock and restock shelves and admin of the grocery stores. You, the EMTs, firefighters and police officers. You, the parents and guardians who are working from home and schooling at home. You, the children, teens, youth, adults who won’t be able to celebrate your matriculation to the next level of schooling just yet. You the children, teens, youth and adults who want to go outside again. You, the single person who doesn’t have the comfort of in-house companionship. You, the person in an unsafe space at home, with no way out.
We gon’ be alright may just sound like a joke. It may sound like a church colloquialism spoken to pacify you and move you along to another subject. But there is no other subject than this one we’re in right now. The one where alright looks, feels and sounds so impossible. The one where light might be at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is thousands of miles away. We gon’ be alright may sound like the words you least desire to hear, especially right now when rent needs to be paid, food needs to be bought and personal matters need to be tended.
Yet the truth is, we gon’ be alright. No, it doesn’t look like it. No, it doesn’t feel like it. No, it doesn’t sound like it. But it is yet the truth.
It’s the truth because God’s first, middle and last name is on the line. God has a reputation to uphold. And we the children, friends and sons (referring to relationship not gender) are the reputation.
We gon’ be alright is our victory chant. It’s what is and it’s what will be. We gon’ be alright. Why? Because Isaiah 55:11 says the word of the Lord cannot return void. That word came through Jesus in Matthew 28, when Jesus told the disciples he’d be with us always, even to the end of the age. Hebrews 13:5 reminds us again of Jesus’ promise, that he will never leave nor forsake us.
So my dear friends, we gon’ be alright.
See it. Hear it. Feel it. Believe it.
Kendrick Lamar said it first.
Tye Tribett said it again.
It’s been motioned and seconded.
That settles it!
Rae Karim, formerly chapel director at Christian Theological Seminary, is now pastor at First Christian Church of Honolulu. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.