‘It won’t be long’

th-12Count the years as months
Count the months as weeks
Count the weeks as days —
Any day now —
We’ll be going home

God put out a call for new music to be born in the 1960s — music that was culturally relevant to what a generation of baby boomers were hearing and singing, and that carried news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I first heard the call to write this music in 1963, but didn’t do anything about it until four years later. By the time I had written, recorded and gotten out with my music, I found others who had heard a similar call like Larry Norman, Paul Clark, Randy Matthews, and Nancy Honeytree. But these were not the first. By the time I first ran into Andrae Crouch and the Disciples, they had already become seasoned road warriors.

In other words, before there was Jesus Music, there was Andrae Crouch. Andrae wrote his first song in 1957, formed his first group in 1960, and became Andrae Crouch and the Disciples in 1965. He was the vanguard of a movement. Some don’t consider him as part of the Jesus Music revival that spearheaded the Jesus movement because gospel music was already firmly entrenched in the culture in black churches, but Andrae took gospel music in a new direction both musically and spiritually that made it a forerunner for the rest of us. Musically, he wrote in a style accessible to white audiences (Jessie Jackson called him “the father of modern gospel”), and spiritually, he wrote about the reality of Jesus and a day-to-day life of faith.

“If the anointing is the real thing,” said Bishop Charles E. Blake, Pastor, West Angeles Church of God In Christ and host of the memorial service, “it is tangible and transferrable.” Andrae’s was the real thing. One gentleman I spoke to who had flown in from Iceland, gave Andrae credit for his own conversion. That’s pretty tangible.

That is why I wanted to be there yesterday at his memorial service in downtown Los Angeles — an affair that lasted four-and-a-half hours and featured guests such as Stevie Wonder, Jessie Jackson and Edwin Hawkins (“Oh Happy Day”). In the audience, as well as many people from the black community in Los Angeles, were people from Europe and South Africa who flew out specifically for this event and a concert the previous night, to pay tribute to one who taught them to pay tribute to God.

To God be the glory
To God be the glory
To God be the glory
For the things He has done
With His blood, He has saved me
With His power, He has raised me.
To God be the glory
For the things he has done

Andrae’s only surviving family member, his twin sister, who has been by his side since birth, began her brief eulogy by quoting, in dramatic fashion, the first verse of this, his most popular worship song:

How can I say thanks
for the things you have done for me
Things so undeserved
Yet you gave to prove your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Cannot express my gratitude
All that I am or ever hope to be
I owe it all to Thee

Andrae has always represented grace turned outward — grace turned outward to the world with a message of hope and salvation that will pay eternal dividends. It will continue to play on and on, and never lose its power.

Sandra & Andrae

Sandra & Andrae

It reaches to the highest mountain,
It flows to the lowest valley;
The blood that gives me strength from day to day,
It will never lose its power.
– written when Andrae was 14 years old

Thank you, Lord, for sharing Andrae and his incredible gifts with us, and be with Sandra as she continues to pastor the Christ Memorial Church in Pacoima without him. She says she is a fighter. At 72, without her “womb-mate” whom she always calls “my twin,” she will need to be.

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4 Responses to ‘It won’t be long’

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    I became a believer in ’79 and heard a few of brother Andrae’s & Paul Clark’s songs and fell in love with insightfulness (sp) of them…

  2. Tim says:

    One of the big differences between Andrae’s music and many of the praise choruses popular today is he said something. You were never confused if he was singing about God or his prom date.
    I saw him when I was a teenager and he was amazing. He will always be a piece in the puzzle of my faith journey.

  3. Sandra C. Hamilton says:

    I never met Pastor Andrae’ Crouch, but he remains my favorite gospel singer. Seemingly since he left us, he has been even more important in my Christian walk. I will never forget him, and I continue to pray for his twin. I hope their recent birthday was bearable for her-the first without him. Their closeness was so evident, and I know she misses him. I wish I had met him during his lifetime. To God, be the glory! sch/Memphis, TN/ 7-1-15

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