Photo credit: GaitherVEVO

As a student, are you the kind who religiously attends school or aims to perfect the attendance for the entire academic year? There are some who are like that. They don’t want to miss any subject or topic discussion. Even in Sunday School classes, there are attendees who want to be present each meeting. Those people strongly manifest how much they hunger and thirst for Christ. Their souls yearn for continuous growth in Jesus. Hence, they want to be spiritually active and uplifted together with their Christian brothers and sisters.

But what about Jesus’ having a roll call in heaven, has the thought ever crossed your mind? I guess that’s the most important attendance checking that we shouldn’t be missing. In fact, it’s one thing that we must start preparing for on earth. To enlighten us further on this, let’s listen to a song entitled “When The Roll is Called Up Yonder” written by James Milton Black. 

Song History

Apart from being a composer of gospel songs, James M. Black has also served as a choir leader and Sunday school teacher. One evening, he came home in despair from a youth meeting. He entered their house’s gate with teary eyes. His wife saw him sat right away in front of his piano and began composing a song. That song is the one most of us are familiar with today called “When The Roll is Called Up Yonder.” But what really happened prior to the writing of the song?

At the youth meeting, Black was having a roll call and everybody answered except for one. He noticed that Bessie, the 14-year-old and a poorly clothed girl whom he invited to the Sunday school was not around. He was suddenly saddened by the thought of being absent when our names are called in heaven. In his mind, he uttered a short prayer,

“Oh, God, when my name is called up yonder, may I be there to respond!” 

Then, he looked for a suitable song to sing but couldn’t find any. That gave him the idea to write one.

Over the years, the song has remained as it was originally written, not for note. Many of the seasoned country music artists have covered it too. Among them were Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Jim Nabors and Willie Nelson.

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