November 21, 2014
Dear T F
Thank you for your interest and use of the new hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. We hope the following new hymn-prayers might be helpful for your church's worship, church newsletters, small group reflections and also for personal devotions. A reminder for those who would like hymn suggestions for Sundays weeks or months ahead of the time, they are posted on the indices for lectionary and scriptures web page.
Obama Moves To Protect Millions From Deportation "In the boldest move on immigration policy of his presidency, President Barack Obama announced plans Thursday evening to dramatically increase deportation relief for an estimated 4.4 million undocumented immigrants. The executive action will protect parents, as well as those who came to the U.S. as children and others with long-standing ties to the country, from being forced out of their homes...The administration and supporters of executive action have stressed that numerous presidents -- including Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush -- have taken executive action on immigration. Obama noted the presidential precedent in his speech and added, for good measure, a quote from President George W. Bush in support for comprehensive reform."
This coming Sunday, November 23, is Christ the King Sunday with the gospel lectionary being Jesus' parable of the sheep and goats (The Final Judgment). Carolyn has written two hymns on this parable: Whatever You Do (included in United Methodists' Worship and Song and Community of Christ Sings) and When Did We See You Hungry, Lord?.
Carolyn has written several hymns about immigrants; we are now getting requests for use of these hymns (including today from the Iona Community in Scotland) for congregational singing or use by choirs and soloists for this Sunday and/or Thanksgiving services. Permission is given for free use of these hymns for local church use by those supporting efforts to help immigrants and immigration reform now (including President Obama's supportive action).
Abraham Journeyed to a New Country
BUNESSAN 18.104.22.168 D (“Morning Has Broken”)
Abraham journeyed to a new country;
Sarah went with him, journeying too.
Slaves down in Egypt fled Pharaoh’s army;
Ruth left the home and people she knew.
Mary and Joseph feared Herod’s order;
Soldiers were coming! They had to flee.
Taking young Jesus, they crossed the border;
So was our Lord a young refugee.
Some heard the promise—God’s hand would bless them!
Some fled from hunger, famine and pain.
Some left a place where others oppressed them;
All trusted God and started again.
Did they know hardship? Did they know danger?
Who shared a home or gave them some bread?
Who reached a hand to welcome the stranger?
Who saw their fear and gave hope instead?
God, our own families came here from far lands;
We have been strangers, “aliens” too.
May we reach out and offer a welcome
As we have all been welcomed by you.
Biblical references: Genesis 12, Ruth 1; Matthew 2:13-16, 25:31-46; Hebrews 13:2; Leviticus 19:18, 33-34
Tune: Gaelic melody (PCUSA has this hymn with the music as free PDF download)
Text: Copyright © 2010 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org See also http://carolynshymns.com/
Hymn Note for “Abraham Journeyed to a Far Country”
Text: Throughout the Bible, we see stories of immigrants—people called to settle in new lands and begin new lives for a variety of reasons, people who trusted in God’s protection along the way. Abraham and Sarah heard God’s promise of a new land. Exodus is the story of God’s people being led from slavery to the freedom of the Promised Land. Later, Ruth went with Naomi, her mother-in-law, because her love of family led her to take risks and leave the home she knew for a new home. Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt when his parents had to flee from Herod for his safety. Jesus taught that one of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbors; these neighbors include foreigners (Luke 10:25-37 with references to Leviticus 19:18, 33-34). He also taught that all people will be judged on their compassion for those in need and their welcome of strangers (Matthew 25:31-46). Today, people are immigrants for many of the same reasons that these biblical people were. The Church is called to follow the Bible’s teachings by welcoming and supporting immigrants today.
Tune: The hymn tune, Bunessan, is a traditional Gaelic melody that was originally associated with the 19th century Christmas carol, "Child in a Manger,” by Mary Macdonald. When the Gaelic hymn was translated into English, the melody was named after the small village on the Scottish island of Mull by the translator, Lachlan Macbean. Eleanor Farjeon wrote a new hymn to this tune, "Morning Has Broken," that was published in 1931.
Author: Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/Upper Room Books, 2009) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship (Geneva Press, 2000) and the co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. This congregation includes first generation immigrants from Brazil, England, Ghana, India, Scotland and South Africa, Trinidad and provided space for a Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship for five years. A complete list of Carolyn’s 200+ hymns can be found at www.carolynshymns.com
The Children Come
FINLANDIA 22.214.171.124.11.10 (“This Is My Song”)
The children come, not sure where they are going;
Some little ones have seen their siblings die.
They’ve traveled north—a tide that keeps on growing,
A stream of life beneath the desert sky.
Their welcome here? Detention, overflowing.
O Lord of love, now hear your children’s cry!
The children come in search of something better;
They’ve traveled here with nothing in their hands.
On one boy’s belt, a number carved in leather
Leads to a phone, a brother here, a plan.
They come alone—or sometimes band together;
They bring a plea that we will understand.
O Christ our Lord, you welcomed in the stranger;
You blessed the children, telling them to stay.
Be in the desert, with the tired and injured;
Be at the border where they are afraid.
Be on each bus where children sense the danger,
As angry crowds are shouting, “Go away!”
God, let each one know justice, peace and welcome—
And may your gift of mercy start with me.
For unto such as these belongs your kingdom,
And in each child, it is your face we see.
May we, your church, respond in truth and action,
And with you, Lord, say, “Let them come to me.”
Biblical references: Matthew 25:31-46; 19:14-16
Tune: Jean Sibelius, 1899 (“Be Still, My Soul”).
Text: Copyright © 2014 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved
New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com Email: email@example.com
See Hymn Note for “The Children Come”
God, How Can We Comprehend?
ABERYSTWYTH 126.96.36.199 D ("Jesus, Lover of My Soul"; "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night")
God, how can we comprehend — though we've seen them times before —
Lines of people without end fleeing from some senseless war?
They seek safety anywhere, hoping for a welcome hand!
Can we know the pain they bear? Can we ever understand?
You put music in their souls; now they struggle to survive.
You gave each one gifts and goals; now they flee to stay alive.
God of outcasts, may we see how you value everyone,
For each homeless refugee is your daughter or your son.
Lord, your loving knows no bounds; you have conquered death for all.
May we hear beyond our towns to our distant neighbors' call.
Spirit, may our love increase; may we reach to all your earth,
Till each person lives in peace; till your world sees each one's worth.
Biblical Reference: Matthew 25:31-46
Tune: Joseph Parry, 1879 ("Jesus, Lover of My Soul"; "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night") (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 1999 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Copied from Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today's Worship by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette (Geneva Press, 2000).
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/
Web resources on immigration from faith perspectives
- Putting People Before Politics by Jim Wallis Faith leaders and all those who have spent years trying to fix our broken immigration system should feel gratitude toward President Obama. In a primetime address to the nation, the president announced he was taking executive action to relieve some of the suffering caused by the failures of the status quo.
- Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform
- President Obama Cites Exodus on Immigration Reform: 'We Were Strangers Once Too' Reactions from Sam Rodriguez, Russell Moore, Jenny Yang, Noel Castellanos on Obama's motive vs. method. (Christianity Today)
- Justice for Immigrants provides helpful factual information to overcome common myths about immigrants: they don't speak English, don't pay taxes and are a drain on the economy.
- Church World Service is supported by Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Baptists, Congregationalists, Orthodox and other denominations.
- Church World Service immigration FAQ
- Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly statements with links to previous statements and studies.
Helpful Indices for Hymns: Advent, Lectionary and Scripture
Carolyn's new hymns web site includes an index to the scriptures that inspired them: Scripture Index (click for index). Her web site has a variety of other indices for the three-year common lectionary (Year B/Mark), tunes and special topics: Easter, Communion, Creation Care, Stewardship, Women and favorite book lists linked to Amazon to see excerpts and for easy ordering. Beyond planning for worship services, we hope these indices can help with sermons, teaching, writing devotions, for newsletter and other publications.
May God bless you, your loved ones and your ministry!
Grace and Peace,
Bruce & Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, Co-Pastors
Limestone Presbyterian Church