God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse Characters

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God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse Summary & Study Guide Description

God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson.

Lord, appears in Various Sermons

In these various sermons, the Lord is referred to by several different titles. For instance, He is called the Lord, Lord God, God, Jesus, Mary's Baby, and the Lamb. According to the New Testament, Jesus was born on earth as a baby. His mother, Mary, was a virgin impregnated by the power of God. Jesus lived 33 years on earth. During this time he preached to the general public and taught in more detail to a small band of disciples. Jesus was crucified as a result of his claim that he was the Son of God. According to the Bible, it is this death on the cross that allows the entirety of mankind to have the opportunity to receive salvation.

The prayer "Listen Lord—A Prayer" evokes the Lord to listen to His people. In this prayer God is portrayed as a loving, but powerful and awe-inspiring God. The sermon "The Creation" depicts God as a mother, creating and caring for His children. This sermon also shows God's pleasure in His ability to create a pleasing world. The sermon "The Prodigal Son" makes the point that God is a loving father who welcomes His children back; no matter how far they have wandered from Him. In "Go Down Death—A Funeral Sermon" God's ability to feel pity and compassion for His people is showcased. Although God is distant from His people, he watches as Sister Caroline suffers on Earth. It is His decision to have Death bring Caroline to Him in heaven where Jesus comforts her in His own arms.

God's ability to be displeased with His people is seen in the sermon "Noah Built the Ark." God becomes so unhappy with his people, in fact, that he decides to destroy all of them, with the exception of Noah and his family, in a great flood. The most personable portrait of the Lord is shown in the sermon "The Crucifixion." In this sermon, Jesus is in great torment as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although He knows His fate and asks His disciples to stay awake and pray with Him, they cannot stay awake to provide Him with comfort and companionship. Although He is God, Jesus suffers through his crucifixion just like any regular human being.

God's compassion for his people is also displayed in the sermon "Let My People Go." In this sermon, God sees the pain of His people as they work as slaves for the Egyptians. God chooses Moses to convince Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free. The portrayal of God in "The Judgment Day" is the most powerful portrayal of His personality of any of the sermons included in this book. In this sermon God calls for Judgment Day, the day when the sinners will be separated from the children of God. According to God's judgment, each person will receive their just punishment, either eternity in heaven with God or an eternity of suffering in Hell.

Sinners, appears in Various Sermons

According to "Listen, Lord—A Prayer" sinners are people who are on their way to death and hell because they live a lifestyle that takes them away from God. In this section the speaker prays for God to have mercy on these sinners. The sinners in "The Prodigal Son" are the people of Babylon. It is described that when one is living among sinning people, it is very difficult for one to be alone with God. In the sermon "Noah Built the Ark," it is shown how much God dislikes the sin and disgraceful ways of sinners. In this sermon, sin has become so rampant upon the Earth that God decides to destroy all living things on the Earth with a great flood. The sinners in this sermon will not listen to the advice of a godly man when he tells them they must repent. These sinners wait until it is too late to save themselves before they realize the seriousness of their life without God.

Although God destroyed sinners in Noah's flood, they have repopulated the world. In the sermon "The Crucifixion" it is these sinners that cause Jesus to be put to death for crimes that he did not commit. It is also noted in this sermon that Jesus dies to save these sinners from their sins. In the sermon "The Judgment Day" the sinners are divided out from the sheep, or children of God, and referred to as "goats." It is noted in this sermon that at the point in time when Judgment Day comes, it will be too late for sinners to rectify their lives.

The Prodigal Son, appears in The Prodigal Son

The prodigal son represents all those who have strayed away from God during their lives. In the parable that Jesus tells, the prodigal son is the one who asks his father for his portion of his father's riches before it is time for him to receive them. Instead of spending this money wisely, the prodigal son wastes his money on drinking, gambling and wild living. He eventually winds up a poor beggar and decides to go back to his father. Instead of treating his son badly, however, the father welcomes his son home and restores his self-respect.

Women of Babylon, appears in The Prodigal Son

The women of Babylon appear to be the equivalent of prostitutes. They wear brightly colored clothes and a great deal of jewelry. Although they smell sweet and appear desirable, they are not as they appear. These women have the ability to lead young men, such as the one in "The Prodigal Son" astray. They eventually leave the young man in the sermon naked and poor.

Sister Caroline, appears in Go Down Death--A Funeral Sermon

Sister Caroline is the deceased woman for whom this particular funeral sermon is written. Caroline lives in Savannah, Georgia, and has been in pain for awhile. God recognizes Caroline's pain and sends Death to bring her home to Him and out of her misery. Caroline is not afraid of Death even when she sees him coming for her. Caroline is carried by Death up to heaven where she is comforted by Jesus Himself.

Death, appears in Go Down Death--A Funeral Sermon

Death is personified as an icy cold man who rides a pale, bloodless horse. He is commanded by God to go and bring Sister Caroline home to heaven. According to the sermon, Death waits with his pale horses in a shadowy part of heaven. He comes only when summoned by God. As Death rides his horses on the gold streets of heaven, the hooves make sparks, but no noise.

Adam, appears in Noah Built the Ark

Adam is the first man created by God. Adam and his wife, Eve, live in perfect joy in the Garden of Eden. However, when Eve offers Adam fruit from the forbidden tree, he finds he cannot refuse her offer.

Eve, appears in Noah Built the Ark

Eve is the wife of Adam, the first man made by God. God made Even by removing a rib from Adam's rib cage. Eve lives with her husband in the Garden of Eden. One day Satan approaches Eve to try to get her to sin. Satan convinces Eve to eat fruit from a tree that has been forbidden from the couple by God. Eve, in turn, convinces Adam to also eat fruit from the same tree. It is this act by Eve that brought sin into the world.

Judas, appears in The Crucifixion

Judas is the one who leads the Romans to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas' sign of recognition of Jesus and thereby his betrayal of him is the kiss that he places on Jesus' check.

Pilate, appears in The Crucifixion

Pilate is the Roman governor before whom Jesus is presented for a judgment of guilt or innocence. Although Pilate states to the people that he can find no guilt in Jesus' actions, the people insist that Jesus be crucified. Pilate washes his hands, symbolizing that he is not involved in the peoples' decision.

Mary, appears in The Crucifixion

Mary is the mother of Jesus. In the sermon "The Crucifixion," Mary cries as she watches her son killed by the Romans.

Moses, appears in Let My People Go

It is to Moses whom the Lord speaks from the burning bush. Moses is told by the Lord to go to the Pharaoh of Egypt and convince him to let the Hebrew slaves go free. Moses is at first doubtful of his abilities, but does as he is commanded. At the conclusion of this sermon Moses is depicted as singing as the Hebrew people escape from the Egyptians through the Red Sea. God has parted this sea for the Hebrews to pass through. As soon as Moses and the Hebrews pass though, the waters go back together and the Egyptian armies are drowned.

Aaron, appears in Let My People Go

Aaron is Moses' brother. When Moses goes to Pharaoh a second time, God commands him to take Aaron with him. Together Moses and Aaron perform miraculous signs to try to convince the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go free.

Old Pharaoh, appears in Let My People Go

Pharaoh is the Egyptian leader who holds the Hebrews as slaves. Moses is commanded by God to go to Pharaoh and tell him that God has said to release the Hebrew people from their captivity. The preacher pities Pharaoh for trying to go against God. It is because Pharaoh will not free the Egyptians that God causes plagues to come upon the country of Egypt. Even after Pharaoh decides to free the people, he is convinced by his wife to go after the slaves and bring them back. Pharaoh and all of his army are drowned in the Red Sea when they try to follow and recapture the Hebrews.

Miriam, appears in Let My People Go

As Moses sang at the Hebrews' escape from the Egyptians, Miriam danced. According to the Bible, Miriam is Moses' sister.

Gabriel, appears in The Judgment Day

Gabriel is described as a tall, silver angel whom God will command to blow a silver trumpet to announce that Judgment Day has come.

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