1. You call us, as you called the Twelve,
To walk with you the narrow way.
From every background, here we stand,
Your raggle-taggle pilgrim band,
From travelled years or early days,
Through failings, new starts, hopes, delays;
Be with us as we sing your praise
And walk with us, we pray.
2. You call us, as you called the crowd,
To take our cross and follow you,
To leave security behind
and come, with open heart and mind;
And hearts are filled, though sometimes bruised,
and minds enriched, intrigued, confused,
while, patient, loving, kind, amused,
You walk with us today.
3. You call us, as you called your friends
To spread your Gospel in the world.
As we move out beyond this place,
Grant us the courage and the grace
To speak your word in all we do,
And witness faithfully to you.
So keep us ever close and true
And walk with us always.
Words: © Sue McCoan 2009
Metre: 88 88 88 86
Written for the tune “Horsted Keynes” © Matthew Prevett 2009.
Permission is granted to reproduce this hymn for worship purposes with the copyright details included.
As in Sue and Matthew’s Pentecost hymn Set loose the tongues, the tongues of flame, this hymn speaks of the human frailty and variety of experiences that each individual brings to the task of discipleship. Together we are, like the twelve disciples that Jesus sent out to spread his good news, a “raggle-taggle pilgrim band” (v.1). Our hearts “are filled, though sometimes bruised”; our minds “enriched, intrigued, confused”. We bring to faith what we have and who we are – and however imperfect this may be, Jesus calls us as he called his friends “to spread the Gospel in the world”.
The first version of this hymn was written to sing in a valedictory service that marked the end of student training for the United Reformed Church ministry. It had been an intense three years, Sue observes, and now the graduating group was being sent out in a way that echoed the demands placed on the first disciples, who had lived with Jesus for a similar, intense period of time.
Subsequently, Sue revised the hymn so that its words might clearly apply to all Christian disciples, not just those taking the first steps into ordained ministry.
Sue McCoan and Matthew Prevett both trained as ministers within the United Reformed Church. Sue currently serves a congregation in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands. Matthew is undertaking a PhD but remains involved in leading, and composing for, worship.
For more about Sue and Matthew’s hymns, see Hymns for honest pilgrims.