Peter Scholtes: They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

FEL S-252 (1968)

Anyone who has rummaged (physically or virtually) through the discography of the “Jesus Music” era usually has strong ideas about which albums and artists affected them personally, and which ones changed the course of the life of the church.  For Evangelicals, artists such as Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy or the Second Chapter of Acts come to mind.  In the Roman Catholic world, there are candidates, but for lasting influence this album is in a league of its own.

In many ways it’s an unlikely candidate.  It has a homemade sound to it.  It’s more of a collage of songs and Masses than a well thought out work of art or liturgy.  It’s an inner city production with mostly black artists in a church that was becoming very middle class.  But few who lived through the era will forget the title track or the “Missa Bossa Nova”.  And it’s a testament to the power of music to inspire both the people who make it and those who take part in it.  One can feel the fun the performers were having recording it.

Peter Scholtes was a South Side Chicago priest when he put together this album.  That evokes a long radical tradition that is very much a part of our lives these days.  But Scholtes preferred to leave much of the political activity to others, as he explained in this interview.  Ultimately Scholtes and his parishioners were making more than music with this album: they were making history.

The songs:

  1. They’ll Know We Are Christians
  2. Take My Hand
  3. Choose Life
  4. There Once Was A Man
  5. Lord Have Mercy – Missa Bossa Nova
  6. Glory To God – Missa Bossa Nova
  7. Holy, Holy – Missa Bossa Nova
  8. Our Father – Missa Bossa Nova
  9. Lamb Of God – Missa Bossa Nova
  10. Open Up The Boxes
  11. The Lord Bless You
  12. Glory Be To Israel
  13. Shout And Clap Your Hands
  14. We Gather Together
  15. Lord Have Mercy – Mass of 67th Street
  16. Holy, Holy – Mass of 67th Street
  17. Lamb Of God – Mass Of 67th Street

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4 thoughts on “Peter Scholtes: They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love”

  1. Thank you for remembering a great Christian and a great song. In the early days of the renewal of the Spirit in the 60’s and 70’s, there was a serious grasp of the love commandment of Jesus along with the promise that we would win the world by loving one another.

    The first and some say the only command Jesus made.was a new order (mandate Cf. Maundy) for a new order (covenant). It was the heart and soul of the first church’s life, since the first thing Luke tells us is they obeyed the apostles teachings and the koinonia or community, then described just how seriously these believers took the command Jesus gave in John 13 and 15 and prayed for in 17.

    Our mission at The Horizontal Church blog is to pray and labor for the church to be the church, put down our doctrinal swords, and come together as those first century believers and those first Jesus People did.

    1. Do use the Sword of the Spirit of Love. Just two days ago to God, the Early Christians had to deal with the dead Judaic religion and the concision of the Jews who still wanted the Gentiles to follow the Mosaic Law, and there were definite problems in the early churches as we read in the Epistles and Revelation. Scripture tells us not to argue, just tell the show the Truth in Love. Love never fails, for God is Love. We are still early Christians in God’s Eyes. The New Testament is still New. Jesus will over rule all when He returns with His peace, at last.

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