A Special Worship Resource on Immigration
from the National Council of Churches USA


Abraham Journeyed to a New Country

Biblical references:  Genesis 12, Ruth 1; Matthew 2:13-16, 10:40; 25:31-46; Hebrews 11, 13:2; Leviticus 19:18, 33-34
Tune:
  Gaelic melody. 
Text:
  Copyright © 2010 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.  All rights reserved. Email: bcgillette@comcast.net..   See also http://carolynshymns.com/   Permission for free use of this hymn is given to churches that support the National Council of Churches and its communions in their advocacy for justice in immigration policies.


 

Hymn Notes for “Abraham Journeyed to a New Country”


Text:  Throughout the Bible, we see stories of immigrants – people called to settle in new lands and begin new lives for a variety of reasons, people who trusted in God's protection along the way.  Abraham and Sarah heard God's promise of a new land. Exodus is the story of God's people being led from slavery to the freedom of the Promised Land. Later, Ruth went with Naomi, her mother-in-law, because her love of family led her to take risks and leave the home she knew for a new home.
Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt when his parents had to flee from Herod for his safety.  Jesus taught that one of the greatest commandments is to love our neighbors; these neighbors include foreigners (Luke 10:25-37 with references to Leviticus 19:18, 33-34). He also taught that all people will be judged on their compassion for those in need and their welcome of strangers (Matthew 25:31-46).  Today, people are immigrants for many of the same reasons that these biblical people were.
  The Church is called to follow the Bible's teachings by welcoming and supporting immigrants today.   

Tune:
  The hymn tune, Bunessan, is a traditional Gaelic melody that was originally associated with the 19th century Christmas carol, "Child in a Manger,” by Mary Macdonald. When the Gaelic hymn was translated into English, the melody was named after the small village on the Scottish island of Mull by the translator, Lachlan Macbean. Eleanor Farjeon wrote a new hymn to this tune, "Morning Has Broken," that was published in 1931.  

Author:
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. This congregation includes first generation immigrants from Brazil, England, Ghana, India, Scotland and South Africa, and provides space for a Ghanaian Presbyterian Fellowship.  A complete list of Carolyn's 160+ hymns can be found at www.carolynshymns.com.  
 
 

Two-page layout of the hymn text, without music,
suitable for worship bulletins:

 

 

 


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