To commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, today we continue a series of social justice hymns with this text by Congregational minister James Gordon Gilkey (1889-1964) that links the story from the Gospels to our lives in the present.
Outside the Holy City
Unnumbered footsteps throng,
And crowded mart and streets of trade
Fling back a swelling song.
The voices echo nearer,
In flaming hope they sing:
Throw down your branches at his feet!
To Christ your praises bring!
Once more outside our cities
God's liberation waits,
Once more the people throng to bring
A welcome at the gates.
Within, our hearts are burdened
Our feet may go astray;
O Christ of God, come near and walk
Our city streets today!
The branches that we offer
Are no unmeaning sign;
Take thou the hands we lift on high
And make them wholly thine.
No songs of shallow welcome
Are these we raise to thee;
O give us faith to face the cross
And set thy city free!
A distant music mingles
With all our songs today,
Hosannas from a city fair
Where sin has passed away.
There rides the Christ triumphant
And glorious songs ring clear;
O God, give us the strength to build
With Christ that city here!
James G. Gilkey, 1915; alt.
Tune: ALFORD (18.104.22.168.D.)
John Bacchus Dykes, 1875
Nine (Liturgical) Years Ago: Green Palms and Blossoms Gay
Eight (Liturgical) Years Ago: Hosanna, loud hosanna
Seven (Liturgical) Years Ago: Ride on, ride on in majesty
Six (Liturgical) Years Ago: Come, faithful people, come away
Five (Liturgical) Years Ago: See what unbounded zeal and love
One (Liturgical) Year Ago: O Christ, who through this holy week
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One (Calendar) Year Ago: Jane Laurie Borthwick