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Let Us Break Bread Together

Representative Text

1 Let us break bread together on our knees;
let us break bread together on our knees;

Refrain:
When I fall on my knees
with my face to the rising sun,
O Lord, have mercy on me.

2 Let us drink wine together on our knees;
let us drink wine together on our knees. [Refrain]

3 Let us praise God together on our knees;
let us praise God together on our knees. [Refrain]


Source: Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #183

Text Information

First Line: Let us break bread together on our knees
Title: Let Us Break Bread Together
Meter: 7.3.7.3 with refrain
Source: African American spiritual
Language: English
Refrain First Line: When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun

Notes

Some of the stanzas of this African American spiritual may date back to the eighteenth century. Other stanzas have been added by oral tradition. A look through modern hymnals will reveal an array of variations on the text. The most notable alteration in the Psalter Hymnal is the phrase "to the Lord of life" in place of the original "to the rising sun," in which "sun" was an ambiguous metaphor referring to God. The song's use at communion services probably dates from after the American Civil War. Miles Mark Fisher notes in Negro Slave Songs in the United States (1953),
[Originally the hymn] relates hardly at all to holy communion, which does not necessarily require early morning administration or a devotee who faces east. [This] it seems was a signal song of Virginia slaves during the eighteenth century who used it and similar ones to convene their secret meetings.
The text discerns participation in the Lord's Supper as a humble act in which we not only eat the bread (st. 1) and drink the wine (st. 2) but also praise our God (st. 3) "on our knees." The refrain ends with a prayer for mercy, an African American kyrie (see PHH 258) that reminds us of the tax collector's prayer in Luke 18:13. Liturgical Use: Lord's Supper–during preparation for the sacrament or during distribution of the bread and wine. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988

Tune

LET US BREAK BREAD

The tune BREAK BREAD TOGETHER, like the text, has been subject to variation. It became widely known after publication in The Second Book of Negro Spirituals (1926), compiled by the brothers James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson. The tune gained further popularity through a variety of choral arra…

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Baptist Hymnal 1991 #366
  • Full Score (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)
The Cyber Hymnal #3672
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #304
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
Sing Joyfully #265

Instances

Instances (1 - 51 of 51)
TextPage Scan

African American Heritage Hymnal #686

Ambassador Hymnal #285

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #431

TextAudioPage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #366

TextFlexscorePage Scan

Baptist Hymnal 2008 #399

Text

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #461

Text

Chalice Hymnal #425

Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #428

Text

Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #387

Complete Mission Praise #414

Text

Discipleship Ministries Collection #124

TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Evangelical Lutheran Worship #471

TextPage Scan

Gather Comprehensive #832

Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #832

Text InfoTextAudio

Glory to God #525

TextPage Scan

Hymnal 1982 #325

Hymnal #453

Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #480

Hymns and Psalms #615

Text

Hymns for a Pilgrim People #524

Text

Hymns of Promise #183

Hymns of the Saints #342

Hymns Old and New #299

Text

Lift Every Voice and Sing II #152

TextFlexscore

Lift Up Your Hearts #837

Oramos Cantando = We Pray In Song #762

Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #162

Text

Presbyterian Hymnal #513

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #304

Rejoice Hymns #333

TextPage Scan

Rejoice in the Lord #545

Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #403

Sing and Rejoice! #55

TextScoreFlexscoreAudioPage Scan

Sing Joyfully #265

Singing the Faith #592

Audio

Small Church Music #93

Text

The Celebration Hymnal #460

The Covenant Hymnal #572

TextScore

The Cyber Hymnal #3672

Text

The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #323

TextPage Scan

The New Century Hymnal #330

The New National Baptist Hymnal #488

TextAudio

The United Methodist Hymnal #618

Text

The Worshiping Church #776

Text

This Far By Faith #123

Text

Voices United #480

Text

Worship (3rd ed.) #727

Text

Worship and Rejoice #699

Text

Worship in Song #326

Text

生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #234

찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship #236

Include 29 pre-1979 instances
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