His final memorial echoed biblical themes of justice accompanied by the “full soundscape of gospel history.”
The liturgy of Tuesday’s homegoing service for George Floyd reflected the Christian landscape of his hometown and the rich legacy of gospel music in the black church.
More than 500 loved ones, community leaders, and guests gathered at a Houston megachurch, Fountain of Praise, to remember a man whose death launched a movement.
The lineup for the service, the final memorial before Floyd’s burial that afternoon, included leaders of some of the most influential black megachurches in Houston as well as remarks from national figures like Joe Biden (by video) and Al Sharpton, who gave the eulogy.
Gospel greats Kim Burrell and Kurt Carr and R&B artist Ne-Yo were among the performers whose music carried mourners through the nearly four-hour event.
Thousands watched the funeral livestreamed online from Fountains of Praise’s sanctuary, where about 6,000 people came through during a public viewing the day before. The congregation is one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the state. Pastors Remus and Mia Wright know Floyd’s cousin and reached out to his family to host the funeral. They opened the service by reading the opening lines from several psalms—121, 91, 34, 46, and 24—emphasizing God’s help and presence in times of trouble.
The crowd, many dressed in white, stood and swayed as the 10-person Houston Ensemble sang from the choir loft, where they were spread out for social distancing.
The service began with Andrae Crouch’s “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”: It soothes my doubts and calms my fears and it dries all my tears / The blood that gives me strength from day to day, it will never lose its power.
“The music is very important in both mediating the grief …