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They Met to Read the Bible

a hymn from Carolyn Winfrey Gillette

Many people of faith are praying for the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, South Carolina and the United States after the terrorist killing (more than a hate crime) of nine people by a racist young man. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette finished writing the following hymn-prayer early Saturday morning. You are welcome to share this new hymn online with your friends by email or Facebook, and to use it in worship this Sunday (solo, choir, congregational singing or simply read it) and in the future.  The tune is well-known, in the public domain and found in most hymnals.

They Met to Read the Bible
ST. CHRISTOPHER ("Beneath the Cross of Jesus")

They met to read the Bible,
they gathered for a prayer,
They worshiped God and shared with friends
and welcomed strangers there.
They went to church to speak of love,
To celebrate God’s grace.
O Lord, we tremble when we hear
What happened in that place.

O God of love and justice,
we thank you for the nine.
They served in their communities
and made the world more kind.
They preached and sang and coached and taught,
And cared for children, too.
They blessed your church and blessed your world
With gifts they used for you.

We grieve a wounded culture
Where fear and terror thrive,
Where some hate others for their race
And guns are glorified.
We grieve for sons and daughters lost,
For grandmas who are gone.
O God, we cry with broken hearts:
This can’t continue on!

God, may we keep on sowing
The seeds of justice here,
Till guns are silent, people sing,
And hope replaces fear.
May seeds of understanding grow
And flourish all our days.
May justice, love and mercy be
The banner that we raise.

Tune: Frederick Charles Maker, 1881
Text: Copyright © 2015 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: [email protected] New Hymns:
Permission is given for free use by local churches and in ecumenical services.

Please drop us an email note for a copy of it formatted for a worship bulletin insert in MS Word.

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