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New hymn seeks justice for those fleeing for their lives

Lyricist Carolyn Winfrey Gillette offers up “Christ, You Spoke to Us of Children”

by Mike Ferguson |  Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — “Christ, You Spoke to Us of Children” is a new hymn from Presbyterian pastor and hymn lyric writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette that calls the church to, as she says, “seek justice for these people who are often fleeing for their lives as they try to enter the U.S.”

Gillette grants permission for the free use of the hymn.

Set to traditional Polish Christmas carol “Infant Holy, Infant Lowly,” “Christ, You Spoke to Us of Children” recalls the warnings of the prophet Isaiah and the teaching of Jesus, who says in Matthew’s gospel, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

“There are news stories of refugee children in detention camps caring for even younger children there, and of little ones comforting each other by doing their bedtime prayers together in detention,” Gillette writes in a note accompanying the new hymn. “There are news stories of border patrol agents dumping out lifesaving water stations that have been placed in the desert, of immigrants having to travel farther through the desert because of closed border crossings, and of immigrants dying of thirst trying to cross the border. There are news stories of family members drowning, arm in arm, while trying to enter the U.S.”

The fourth verse of “Christ, You Spoke to Us of Children” contains these lyrics:

God of immigrant and stranger,

God who welcomes those in need,

When your children are in danger,

Will we love them or concede?

May we not seek cheap forgiveness

Till we dare to work for justice —

Till your little ones are freed.

Gillette said some churches she’s heard from plan to use the hymn in worship June 30. Others have told her they plan to use it during worship the following Sunday, July 7, Immigration Sunday.

 


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