This hymn can be a helpful one for churches seeking to support the relief efforts in Pakistan.
This hymn was inspired by Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus' teaching that has been given a variety of titles: "The Judgment of the Nations" (NRSV heading), "Sheep and Goats" (NIV and The Message) and "The Final Judgment" (CEV). The hymn is the lectionary's gospel reading for New Year (ABC) and Christ the King -- Reign of Christ Sunday (Year A).
Susan Sanders, the administrator at One Great Hour of Sharing, asked for this hymn to be written in honor of Susan Ryan's service. Susan Ryan served as the coordinator of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and also offered leadership in ecumenical work for disaster victims and the poor. The hymn has been selected to be included in Worship and Song: for United Methodists (Abingdon Press, February 2011).
"Whatever You Do"
ST. DENIO 22.214.171.124 ("Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise")
"Whatever you do to the least ones of these,
I tell you in truth that you do unto me!"
Lord Jesus, you taught us! May we learn anew
That when we serve others, we also serve you.
When poor, waiting children pray hunger will end,
When those long-forgotten cry out for a friend,
When thirsty ones whisper, "O Lord, where are you?"--
We hear, in their longing, that you're calling, too.
In prisons and jails, Lord, we find a surprise;
We see you in people whom others despise.
At hospital bedsides we offer a prayer
And find, when we visit the sick, you are there.
When we reach to others in flood-stricken lands
And offer our hearts there, and offer our hands-
We notice, Lord Jesus, the gift of your grace:
We see, in the crowds of the suffering, your face.
"Lord, when did we see you?" Your teaching is clear
That when we serve others, we're serving you here.
And when your church heeds you and helps those in pain,
Then out of the chaos, hope rises again.
Music: Welsh Folk Hymn, Adapted in Caniadau y Cyssegr, 1839
Text: Copyright © 2008 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
About the tune: ST. DENIO is based on "Can mlynedd i nawr" ("A Hundred Years from Now"), a tradiitional Welsh ballad popular in the early nineteenth century. It was first published as a hymn tune in John Roberts's Caniadau y Cyssegr (Hymns of the Sanctuary, 1839). The tune title refers to St. Denis, the patron saint of France. John Roberts (b. Tanrhiwfelen, Penllwyn, near Aberystwyth, Wales, 1822; d. Vron, Caernarvon, Wales, 1877) is also known by his Welsh name, Ieuan Gwyllt (Wild John) to distinguish him from many other John Roberts. He began conducting choirs at the age of fourteen and was a schoolteacher at sixteen. Ordained in the (Calvinist) Methodist ministry in 1859, he served congregations in Aberdare and Llanberis. In 1859 he also founded the Welsh singing festival "Gymanfa ganu" and compiled the important Calvinist Methodist hymnal Llyfr Tonau CynulleidfaolPHH 73) hymnal, Swn y Iiwvili (1874). --Psalter Hymnal Handbook http://www.hymnary.org/tune/st_denio
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. She will be one of the leaders at the upcoming Songs for Peace and Justice Conference in Stony Point, NY on October 10-14. Several of her hymns can be found on the Sojourners web site, most recently A Hymn of Welcome for Immigrants: "Abraham Journeyed to a New Country" and A Hymn and Prayer for the Gulf: 'O God, the Great, Wide Seas are Yours." A complete list of Carolyn's 160+ hymns can be found at www.carolynshymns.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hymn Use Permission: Churches that support Sojourners and ecumenical relief efforts have permission to use this hymn.