Keep Your Lamps! (Spiritual). Arranged by Andre Thomas. For SATB choir and conga drums (Accompaniment: Conga Drums). Spiritual, Concert. Andre Thomas Series. Choral. Medium Easy Jr. High/High School or Easy Adult. Gospel, Spiritual, Sacred. Difficulty: Medium Easy (Jr. High/High School) or Easy (Adult). Octavo. 8 pages. Duration 2 minutes, 16 seconds. Published by Hinshaw Music Inc. (HI.HMC577).
As with many of the slave songs, this song's impetus came from hearing a sermon based upon the parable found in the book of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 1-13. In this passage of scripture, Jesus tells the story of the wise and foolish virgins. They had been told that the bridegorrm would be coming, thus they got their Lamps, trimmed them, and set them burning and went to the appointed place. However, the bridegroom did not arrive at the appointed time and the foolish only brought enough oil for one night. They then returned to get more oil and of course the bridegroom came while they were away. Jesus then says to his disciples, you know not the day nor the hour of my return. Be ye ready! As a response to this, one can only imagine the song stirring from the soul of one slave listener. Jesus was indeed deliverer and a hope for the slave. One can only speculate that this song wasw sung often, when there was a possibility of deliverance.