A Hymn for Neighbors Seeking Asylum

Commentary
Asylum seekers traveling from Central America en route to the United States cross the Tijuana river to reach the border fence between Mexico and the United States in Tijuana, Mexico, Nov. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

When children scream from tear gas where they’ve been told to wait,
when signs tell families, “Don’t pass!” outside our nation’s gate—
O Lord who welcomed children and loves each little one,
we cry, “Where is compassion?” We pray, “What have we done?”

When neighbors seek asylum as days and weeks drag on,
when they dream dreams of freedom while we make fences strong—
O Lord who said God’s kingdom will welcome those in need,
we cry, “Where is the welcome? What have we done, indeed?”

When travelers on their journey walk on, on blistered feet,
as they look for a country where peace and justice meet—
If faith can topple mountains, Lord, what will churches do?
Will we reach to the suffering? Will we, in them, see you?

We ask, “What should we do here? Are we our neighbors’ friends?”
The challenge isn’t new here; you've shown how love extends.
May we cry out for justice till others need not cry.
May love become our witness till no one waits outside.

Biblical References: Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:19; Jeremiah 22:3; Malachi 3:5; Matthew 18:1-6; Matthew 19:13-15; Matthew 25:35; Mark 9:37; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18: 15-17; Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2
Tune: Hans Leo Hassler, 1601; harmony by Johann Sebastian Bach, 1729. PASSION CHORALE 7.6.7.6 D ("O Sacred Head, Now Wounded")
Text: Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of over 400 hymns that have been sung by thousands of congregations around the world, and are found in 20 books and thousands of web sites, including www.carolynshymns.com. Many of her hymns are published at Sojourners and are also found in Christian Century magazine, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and PBS-TV. She and her husband Bruce are Presbyterian ministers who have served congregations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. View the Sojourners video on Carolyn's hymns here.

Don't Miss a Story!

Get Sojourners delivered straight to your inbox.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"A Hymn for Neighbors Seeking Asylum"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines and acknowledge that my comment may be published in the Letters to the Editor section of Sojourners magazine.

Must Reads

Subscribe