Commentary

The Gospel reading for the Revised Common Lectionary for January 14 is John 1:43-51, the inspiration for this new hymn written this week:

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

“What Good Can Come from Nazareth?”

AURELIA 7.6.7.6 D ("The Church's One Foundation")

“What good can come from Nazareth? Can any good at all?”
Nathaniel said to Philip when he heard Philip’s call.
The prophets never praised it— that little backwoods place!
He thought God wouldn’t choose it to be a means of grace.

And yet, when he met Jesus, Nathaniel changed his ways.
His words that put down others soon turned to words of praise.
He called our Savior “Rabbi!” and “Son of God!” and “King!”
What change a little listening and openness can bring!

“What good can come from strangers?” O God, we hear the shout.
For some hate other people and seek to push them out.
May we who follow Jesus be glad to “Come and see!”
May we learn from each other with true humility.

O God of all our cultures, now make us one, we pray.
May we see your grace working in all your lands this day.
May we hear others’ stories — what makes them sad or strong, 
Till — listening — we find friendship, with love our common song.

Biblical Reference: John 1:43-51

Tune: Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1864 ("The Church's One Foundation") (MIDI)

Text: Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

Permission is given for free use of this hymn to those who support Sojourners.

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 and New Jersey. View the Sojourners video on Carolyn's hymns here.

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