Let Us Break Bread Together

“Let Us Break Bread Together” is a well-loved spiritual that in three verses expresses worshippers’ intent at Holy Communion: “Let us break bread together on our knees;” Let us drink wine together on our knees;” “Let us praise God together on our knees.” Each verse is followed by the refrain, “When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me.”

The words may date to the eighteenth century, possibly first sung by slaves in Virginia’s Episcopal churches for whom the experience of taking Communion would have involved kneeling toward the rising sun at an early morning service of worship. (For additional details, read the “Worship Notes” at hymnary.org.) The tune became widely known after publication in The Second Book of Negro Spirituals (1926), compiled by brothers James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson, and it grew in popularity with its inclusion in many 20th century hymnals and through various choral arrangements.

In this arrangement, trombone and organ each take a turn at the verse and refrain, then join together after a modulation up one step on verse, refrain and conclusion.

Organ score, bass clef and Bb treble clef solo parts — $5.99