How Much Longer?


How Much Longer?

"Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5:23-24)

In the midst of the US presidential election of 2016, with the backdrop of a series of events fueled by racial tension and violence across America, the writers of 'How Much Longer' met together to write for the first time. Three sons of preachers; two black, one white.

How Much Longer was conceived and written on a former plantation near a cemetery where slaves and Confederate soldiers were buried side by side. Reflecting on the current turmoil we wrestled with two ideas:

1. How much longer will we continue to see the same kinds of divisive issues in America around race and ethnicity? How much longer will justice sleep?

2. Why do we continue to fight one another in life with such fervor even though we know that eventually, we will return to the earth? As we looked to the graveyard in the distance, we pondered whether we would only have unity and peace in death.

We concluded our session with the burden of creating a battle cry for renewal as reflected in the bridge: Come on brother, lay your weapons down, where the river of justice rolls and all oppression drowns." (Art Hooker)

“We are a tired and fed up people. Tired of broken systems and fed up with injustice. We long to see the end of these things. We keep asking How Much Longer. When will the oppressed be liberated, and when will the oppressors meet justice or turn from their ways.” (Ben Hardesty)

Written by Art Hooker (BMI), Courtney Orlando (ASCAP), Ben Hardesty (BMI)
© 2017 Common Hymnal Digital (BMI), New Metropolitan Music (BMI), Common Hymnal Publishing (ASCAP), Theocentric Music (ASCAP), Benjo Darro Music Company (BMI) (admin by CCLI 7109361.

In the silence, tell me, can you hear
The voices calling out, of the disappeared?
Broken spirits, dormant dreams
How much longer will justice sleep?

When a lawless heart is the voice we’re hearing
We need freedom

How much longer 'til we sing a new song?
How much longer 'til we sing a new song?

Hearts of saints and sinners, too
Both have walked away from the destitute
Call them back to sing as one
A song of freedom now, a song to overcome 

Come on brother, lay your weapons down
Where the river of justice rolls and all oppression drowns
It flows with life, love and truth
May the old be washed away and hearts be made anew 



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