Published on March 12th, 2020 | by Nicole Vear
Gospel Round-Up | 3/21/2019 – 3/26/2019
Tyler Perry begins the “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” Challenge to encourage viewers to keep spirits bright and remind themselves that God has everything under control during this challenging and harrowing time. Though the sentiment coming from celebrities often feels trite and insincere, it points to the widening impact of the virus on communities across the world, especially communities of color and their spiritual gathering places. How are people coping with this pandemic? It seems to be acting as a leveling field of sorts, showing the utter humanity and fallibility at the core of everyone.
The challenge from Perry currently has over 1 million views on Instagram and hundreds of thousands of people have participated. He said he wanted to start something to make everyone “feel better,” then began to sing the traditional African-American song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and challenged others to add to it.
“It’s my hope that we add to this simple song in every language from every nation as we let it become a prayer for our whole world! God bless you today,” Perry captioned his video.
“And remember it’s all in God’s hands!” he declared.
Perry asked various celebrities to join him in the challenge, among those featured in his video being Karen Clark Sheard, Kierra Sheard, Yolanda Adams, Johnny Gill, Tamela Mann, Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson, Travis Greene, and others.
Like most people across the world, Justin Bieber is currently practicing social distancing and decided to use his social media platform on Sunday to host a church service for his pastor, Judah Smith.
The pop star has been spending his time in isolation recording music, dancing on TikTok with his wife and going to church remotely.
“By no means do you need to believe in what I believe but know your loved and more than welcome to join me as I watch church today!” he wrote on Instagram, inviting his millions of followers to tune into a church stream he hosted of Smith.
“I’m just gonna kind of sit back and let you do your thing,” he told the ChurcHome pastor just before it began.
Within minutes, over 50,000 people were tuned in. Smith explained the Gospel message of Christ to all who watched the service on Sunday.
Read below an open letter from Lecrae as he pours his heart out to people and shares some encouraging, sincere reflections on the meaning of all of this, in light of his faith:
“During the months of January and February, I paid loose attention to the news. I heard about a virus in China and assumed it was like the viral outbreaks we’ve seen in the past, like MERS, SARS, and Ebola. All of them had little effect on my day-to-day life outside of praying for those affected and following the news reports.
By the first week of March, I realized that COVID-19 was something different. Friends reached out asking me if I heard about coronavirus and the havoc it caused in China and now other parts of the world. Like many of us, I thought, “Sure, but it’s not that big of a deal though. It’ll pass.” Except it was a big deal, and I had no idea it would become a global pandemic of this proportion. I hadn’t kept up with all the warnings and updates. I was in my own world, preparing for the release of my ninth album, getting final features from A-list artists, planning a book tour, and engrossed in my own ecosystem.
All the planning and strategy drastically changed overnight! It started off slow for me. First a friend in Seattle texted saying things were crazy up there. We had a couple discussions in the studio about it; I read a headline or two about how quickly it was spreading in Italy.
Then it hit home! A festival I was performing at out West was canceled! My business manager called and cautioned me not to panic. Panic? Wait, what is going on?! What planet is this?!
Now tuned in, the next few days we all received constant updates, increasing our anxiety. Our kids’ school closed, two months of shows were canceled, and I was trying to calm scared family members. My 92-year-old grandmother is reorganizing her life so she can keep it.
At first, it overwhelmed me! It was too much to deal with. Then I stopped and prayed. It was time to embrace a new normal. For my family, for myself, and my team at Reach Records, I had to be calm and focused. I had to commit my faith completely to God and rely on my spiritual foundation to make clear decisions.
It occurred to me that if there is ever a time people needed hope and encouragement, this was that time. It was like a light bulb went off and I realized that though I had some new personal challenges to deal with, so did the rest of the world. Those experiencing homelessness, single parents, hourly workers, folks with pre-existing health issues, small business owners, basically all of us — this is a global pandemic.
The temptation to give in to anxiety and fear is real but has never created solutions. Those who have historically survived wars, recessions, and plagues tell of people leaning in, people helping each other.
I’ve been following COVID-19 closely since it’s become a pandemic and I want to remind people THIS IS NOT THE END! While we can heed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to stay away from others who are sick, avoid crowds, and properly wash our hands, I can’t help but think about those living on the street who have no way to bathe or wash their hands. People who may eat, sleep, and congregate so close to each other that social distancing is not possible.
That led me to get involved when I heard Love Beyond Walls was preparing to plant portable handwashing stations around the Atlanta metro area for homeless and displaced people to clean their hands in response to the coronavirus.
Partnering with organizations like Love Beyond Walls is one way we can serve humanity right now. It takes both faith and action to provide real restoration in our communities and world. Jesus washed feet, now we have an opportunity to wash hands and provide that same type of restoration in a modern way.
Fear causes us to act inhumane; it causes us to overlook those in need. Thousands of people are living on the streets with pre-existing health conditions and no access to small things like hand sanitizer. They are at an even higher risk to COVID-19.
Fear makes us think about ourselves, hoard toilet paper and fight in grocery stores. But God is consistent. The same God who parted seas, healed diseases, and gives ingenuity to doctors is still present. That same God who fed the multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish is still here. I have no idea when or where my next check from a concert will come from, but I know I have enough for now.
I imagine there will be great songs, books, and films created in this time of social distancing. Economies may get weaker, but family bonds will grow stronger. This pandemic is an opportunity to see how we can overcome unforeseen trials. We can embrace the humility and humanity it takes to be of service to one another.
I hope we can put a pause on self-seeking, self-interest, and vain pursuits to care deeply for one another and refocus on global solidarity. I believe God will restore the years the locusts have eaten. I believe collective pain makes people love their neighbors as themselves.
In the words of L.R. Knost, “Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So, go love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
Humanity always recovers, and I am confident we will be restored again. I want to be a part of that solution.”
Travis Greene and Doe recorded a music video for Travis Greene’s chart-topping single “Good and Loved,” whose lyrics express God’s love from the first-person; when the two musicians sing in harmony, “I am good, you are loved,” it is a letter, a statement of God’s perspective, spoken in His voice. The song and video were excellently executed and Doe’s vocals are beautiful, sincere and evidence of a singer’s heart and commitment to bringing gospel music to the downtrodden and the weary. Watch it now on YouTube and other platforms.
In lieu of the many live concerts and reports on performances and awards shows this season, outlets are providing lists of places viewers can go to view artists’ work and social media platforms. The Gospel Music Association is updating an article of gospel artists who have shared “quiet times, concerts and creative videos” for all to listen to and enjoy. If you go to their article, you can click on the artists’ names and be taken to their live streams and other recorded media.
Thought Hammond was done a while ago? Not quite! The gospel singer brings back an ensemble of socially-distanced musicians, each six-feet away from each other, to revamp some of his old tunes! Watch at the link below.