A New Hymn-Prayer for Donor Sabbath | Sojourners

A New Hymn-Prayer for Donor Sabbath

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

The Need Is Real: You can literally be a lifesaver by being an organ donor. Here are some important facts about donation:

• Someone is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. Over 120,000 people are waiting for organ donations.

• Each day, an average of 79 people receive organ transplants. However, an average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs.

• People of every age give and receive organ donations.

Hymn writer Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has been a chaplain for a hospital and several hospices. She is grateful for suggestions for this hymn from her husband Bruce Gillette (he has served on a hospital ethics committee), hospital Chaplains Tim Rodden and Sister Julian Wilson and ethicist Christian Iosso. This hymn is dedicated to the memory of Roy Timmer, a faithful Christian, a wonderful friend and an organ donor who helped many people.

God, Each Day You Give is Precious

A Hymn for Donor Sabbath

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

God, each day you give is precious; it’s a joyful thing to live!
We are stewards of the wonders of these bodies that you give.
In our heartbeats, in our breathing, in our walking, in our sight,
We are blessed to be a blessing, and your grace is our delight.

Yet when tragedy is sudden, when we’re faced with pain and death,
When a body is too broken to receive another breath,
When it seems that none can cheer us, when a loved one is too ill,
In these times when death is near us, life becomes more precious still.

We are grateful for the vision of the ones who have prepared:
Who have made the firm decision that, in death, life must be shared,
For when earthly bodies fail them, as they’re welcomed into heaven,
Others here will know a blessing from the life these saints have given.

God, we thank you for the families who, in saying their good-byes,
Seek to end their neighbors’ suffering, giving hope and changing lives-
And for resurrection glory, we give thanks and praises, too.
Death can never end our story, for you’ll make us whole and new.

We are made to make a difference, we are made to laugh and dance,
So we thank you for each person who receives a second chance.
For they know that life is precious; they can see another dawn.

They are blessed to be a blessing as the joy of life goes on.

Tune: The Sacred Harp, 1844; attributed to Benjamin Franklin White ("God Whose Giving Knows No Ending") (MIDI)
Alternate tune: KINGSFOLD, English Country Songs, 1893; English Hymnal, 1906 ("Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples") (MIDI)

Text: Copyright © Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, 2014.

Email: bcgillette@comcast.net New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com

The national United Methodist Worship Office has formatted this new hymn with music and made it available as a free downloadable PDF.

Local churches that support Sojourners and/or promoting organ donation have permission for free use of this hymn.

The Church Encourages Christians to Be Organ Donors

Many churches support organ donation as a way to love one’s neighbor, here are three examples:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), “recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors as a part of their ministry to others …” Minutes of the 195th (1983) General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), pages 97, 846.

The 70th General Convention of the Episcopal Church recommends and urges “all members of this Church to consider seriously the opportunity to donate organs after death that others may live, and that such decision be clearly stated to family, friends, church and attorney.”

Organ, eye, and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican. (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 86)

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor (Discipleship Resources/Upper Room Books) and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship (Geneva Press); she and her husband Bruce serve as the co-pastors of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware after serving churches in NJ for twenty years. Sojourners' past postings by her includes hymns for Human Rights Day, Loving in Truth and Action (I John 3:16-18 ), World Water Day, Blessing of the Animals, relief efforts in the Horn of Africa, September 11th anniversary, creation care, economic justice, Matthew 25/disaster relief, immigration, and war in Iraq. A complete list of the 200+ hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, many with peace and justice themes, can be found at www.carolynshymns.com.

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