John Legend “Preaches” in Latest Song
John Legend is not shy about acknowledging his Christian faith and Gospel roots. In his latest single Preach, he calls upon his faith tradition to send a powerful message about loving your neighbor.
Released today, in his new music video we see Legend struggling with what it means to be a person of faith in the face of injustice. The video starts with a restless Legend leaving his bed and walking to a door that opens into a dream sequence that is more like a nightmare.
By following, three different storylines, the video touches on topics of gun violence, immigration, and criminal justice reform. The contrast between the treatment of each individual strikes a profound tone that is a haunting reflection of society.
One feels the desperation in Legend’s voice as he sits in a church pew, looking up to God while singing “Falling to my knees/Though I do believe/Oh, I can’t just preach baby preach.”
The song certainly has universal appeal to anyone who has ever watched a tragic news story unfold and felt helpless. However, one cannot deny that Preach is also uniquely geared toward believers, particularly as it relates to God’s call for us to love our neighbors, which includes more than just the people who live near us.
Legend hinted at this earlier in a video he released on Instagram promoting the new single and reflecting on the preaching tradition he experienced as a child.
“I grew up in a church in the church and one of the things we talked about was loving our neighbor as we love ourselves,” Legend stated in the video. “My preacher told me that our neighbor wasn’t just the person that lives next door to you, but other people whom you might not even know.”
Ultimately, Preach is a call to action to everyone. We can no longer talk about the tragedies we witness but we must actively work to correct them. That is how we show that we love not only our neighbors, but God as well.
In other words, the song takes seriously the words of Jesus when he stated, “I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.” (Matthew 25:45 VOICE).