We Are Not Going Away (1995)

Click here for a downloadable copy of the sheet music for this song.

We are not going away
We are not going away
God blesses the children who stand up and say
We are not going away

There once was a man, so Jesus has told, who traveled many a day
He knocked late at night on his friend’s front door and heard a voice inside say
“We’re all in bed for the night, old pal, we’re in for the night, I say;
It’s much too late for your room and your board; no hard feelings, but please go a‑way”
But the man he did knock and the man he did pound ‘til the rooster crowed in the day
And the weary friend finally opened the door and asked him in to stay
And Jesus said God gives more freely than this if only we will pray
So sisters and brothers, believe in his words—we are not going away

There once was a judge, so Jesus has told, who thought he could live on his own
But there was a widow who had a case and would not leave him alone
The judge cared not for people or God and he wished that the widow were dead
But just to get the old gal off his back he granted her wishes instead
And Jesus said God gives more freely than this if only we will pray
So sisters and brothers, believe in his words—we are not going away

Now Jacob wrestled an angel at dawn—that sure seems like a dumb thing to do
But the angel gave him a name and a blessing ‘cause Israel would not let go
The prophet Elisha was much too busy to perform resurrection one day
But he raised the son of the Shunamite woman; she was not going away
And we believe God gives more freely than this if only we will pray
So sisters and brothers, believe in the Word—we are not going away

Jesus’ people hated the Canaanites, thought they were lost in sin
So Jesus himself was caught by surprise when a woman of Canaan came in
And when he compared her people to dogs she did not flee or sway
She changed the mind of the Lord and he blessed her because she would not go away
*And old Herod, he thought when Rome put him to death* that in the grave Jesus would stay
But just like our Lord, we are rising again—we are not going away

**Now Mohandas K. Gandhi, the prophet of peace, led his country to stand on its own
And Mandela gave hope and a voice to his people through years in a cell all alone
Let us ne’er underestimate patience and love, and exhaustion and stubbornness, too:
Rosa Parks sat down and the whole world stood up—the world is depending on you!
Think of Jesus’ delight at the widow and judges who act out his story today:
The Supreme Court sat down, Edie Windsor stood up: WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY!**

Now Jesus said ask and Jesus said seek and Jesus said knock on the door
And it will be given and we shall find and it will be opened for sure
Now you might shut us out and go hide in your room, “Out of sight, out of mind” you might say
But we believe in the promise of Jesus and we are not going away
We’re partnered and single, we’re wealthy and poor,
We’re straight and we’re lesbian and gay
We’re brown and pink and all shades in between, we’re young and lived many a day
We’re singing and praying in spirit and soul, and try to ignore us you may
But why not get to know us, we’ll be here a while—we are not going away
So come on, get to know us, we’ll be here a while
We are not going away

Copyright ©2013, 1996 by Lee Krähenbühl/Found Space Music. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. Permissions: LeeKrahenbuhl@aol.com

Composed: Richmond, Indiana, 23 August 1995

First public performance: Dancing At The Table conference, North Manchester, Indiana, July 1996. Subsequently published in the anthology Shaping Sanctuary: Proclaiming God’s Grace in an Inclusive Church, Kelly Turney ed. (Chicago: Reconciling Congregation Program, 2000) 366-7.

Notes: Inspired by the following Biblical accounts (in order of appearance): Luke 11:5-8; Luke 18:1-8; Genesis 32:34-30; Matthew 15:22-28; Luke 18:9-10; and by the final speech in Tony Kusnher’s Angels in America, part II: Perestroika.

*The original line in the fourth verse, unfortunately preserved on both recordings, began ‘The Old Pharisees thought when they put him to death.’ Rabbi Stephen Forstein, a colleague during my time in Kalamazoo, correctly pointed out that it was not the Pharisees but the Romans (and their collaborator Herod) who were responsible for the death of Jesus. I was horrified at how my original line had glibly parroted two millennia of anti-Semitism. Thank you and God rest your soul, Reb Steve (1936-2012).

**This verse—commemorating (among others) Edie Windsor, the activist at the center of the Supreme Court decision United States v Windsor of March 27, 2013, which opened the door to the legalization of same-sex marriage—was first performed at the OEPA Song and Story Fest, Camp Myrtlewood, Oregon, June 2013.

Lee Krähenbühl & David Frantz, Love Unexplored: Acoustic Stories and Unlikely Spirituals (Found Space, 1996)

Listen to the Found Space arrangement (1995):

Kindling, Kindling Live! (KinFolk, 1998)
Listen to the Kindling arrangement (1998) via YouTube

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