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A new hymn by PC(USA) pastor Carolyn Winfrey Gillette laments Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling on Title 42

‘Mary, Joseph! Take Young Jesus!’ is based on Sunday’s gospel lectionary passage

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Photo by Debby Hudson via Unsplash

LOUISVILLE — Following Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the continued expulsion of asylum seekers from the United States until justices oral arguments on Title 42 in February, the Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has written a new hymn, “Mary, Joseph! Take Young Jesus!” and based it on Matthew 2:13-18, part of the lectionary reading for Jan. 1, 2023.

In an email, Gillette said she completed the hymn Wednesday. It’s set to the tune BEACH SPRING, which is also used in the hymn “God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending.”

In 2020, the Trump administration put in place pandemic-era limits on asylum, according to an Associated Press report. Those limits are often called Title 42 in reference to a public health law that dates back to World War II. Since the outset of the pandemic, officials have expelled more than 2.5 million asylum seekers on the grounds of preventing Covid from spreading.

Immigration advocates sued to end the policy, saying it goes against U.S. and international obligations to people fleeing to the U.S. to escape persecution.

Last summer the 225th General Assembly passed IMM-08, which among other actions directs the Presbyterian Mission Agency to provide the Church with information “about conditions that precipitate migration, about obstacles to care of refugees, and about detention and deportation practices.” It also requires the PMA to advocate to Congress “for legislative compassion on immigration reform.”

The Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

IMM-08 also encourages congregations and mid councils “to engage with the refugee community by participation in welcoming activities, advocacy for the development of helping public resources, and resistance to unlawful or unhelpful government activity.”

Gillette gives permission for free use by churches in worship services, both in person and online, to use the new hymn. “Please share it with other church pastors and musicians,” she wrote, “in the hopes it will help build support for churches caring about refugees.”


Mary, Joseph! Take Young Jesus!

BEACH SPRING (“God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending”)

“Mary, Joseph! Take young Jesus! Flee from where you cannot stay!
Soldiers seek the child, to kill him! Cross the border! Run away!”
Weary from long miles of walking, Joseph, Mary, full of grace,
hugged young Jesus, hoping, trusting God would give a safer place.

God, this story daily happens more than we can understand —
Heed the danger! Save the children! Flee a much-beloved land!
Seek a land that might give welcome! Raise a family without fear!
Cross the border, hoping, trusting some will show compassion here.

Christ, we wonder at the meaning, that your family had to flee.
How can we show love and welcome to the poor, the refugee?
What’s our calling as a nation, when — a stranger — you arrive,
simply seeking our compassion so your family can survive?

See the Holy Family fleeing! Would we make our border tight?
Hear a child and parents crying, turned away into the night.
God of love, now show our nation what you’re calling us to do
so that strangers may be welcomed — so you will be welcomed, too.

Learn more about Gillette’s hymns here.

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