A New Hymn for Sunday: 'Once a Father Told His Children' | Sojourners

A New Hymn for Sunday: 'Once a Father Told His Children'

A Hymn for This Sunday

This hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette asks the question what does it mean to be a Christian, a church? Whom do we serve? How shall we respond to those in need? It is based on the lectionary passage Matthew 21:23-32 (September 28, 2014). The United Methodist Worship Office has formatted the hymn with the music as a free download.

Once a Father Told His Children

NETTLETON 8.7.8.7 D (“Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”)

Once a father told his children,
“Go and do your daily chores.

Go and work out in my vineyard;
All that’s mine will soon be yours.”

One responded, “I won’t do it!”
Then he changed his mind and went.

One said, “Yes! Just send me to it!”
But he went back home again.

Once a church was filled with Christians
who were proud and feeling blessed.

“God has called us and we’ve answered!
We have truly answered, “Yes!”

On a chilly Sunday morning,
when a homeless man came by,

They said, “Go! It’s not yet storming!
God is love—he will supply.”

Once a woman, quite the sinner,
struggled deep in pain and doubt.

As she passed that church in winter,
there she saw that man walk out.

He was homeless, worn and weary,
so she stopped her car and said,

“I’m no saint but you look hungry—
let’s go buy some soup and bread.”

God of love, you call your children;
some say, “No!” and some say, “Yes!”

Lord, forgive us for our judging
who will be among the blessed.

For your kingdom is surprising;
some you call will not obey;

Those we find ourselves despising
may be those who seek your way.

Biblical Reference: Matthew 21:23-32

Tune: Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, 1813

Text: Copyright © 2011 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved

Email: bcgillette@comcast.net Web site: www.carolynshymns.com

Hymn Use Permission: Churches that support Sojourners have copyright permission to use “Once a Father Told His Children” in their local church.

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 Children on the BorderHuman Rights Day,Loving in Truth and Action (I John 3:16-18), Maundy Thursday/Jesus’ arrestPalm/Passion SundayAsh Wednesday/Social JusticeWorld Water DayBlessing of the Animalsrelief efforts in the Horn of AfricaSeptember 11th anniversarycreation careeconomic justiceMatthew 25/disaster relief,immigration, the Gulf oil spill 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

Image: Oleg Kozlov / Shutterstock.com

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