1. Dusty-footed, heavy-hearted,
Jesus gathered friends,
Shared a meal and, having loved,
He loved them to the end.
2. Bread for one who would betray him,
Wine for those who fled,
Food of life. He blessed, and broke;
His body in the bread.
3. Bitter cup of wine and sorrow,
Garden dark with prayer,
Judas kiss. Unarmed, unbowed,
He faced his captors there.
4. Gift of living, gift of dying,
Gift of blood and breath,
Holy gift. God’s love outpoured
Destroys the power of death.
5. Empty-handed, open-hearted,
Gathered in your name;
Our life yours. O giving Gift,
Redeem, renew, reclaim.
Words: © Sue McCoan 2011
Written for the tune “Passiontide” © Matthew Prevett 2011. Download the words and tune here as a PDF. This tune may also be printed from Matthew’s Score Exchange page at www.scoreexchange.com/scores/140977.html, where you can listen to an MP3 recording of the tune.
Permission is granted to reproduce this hymn for worship purposes with the copyright details included.
Ideas for use
Sue McCoan and Matthew Prevett’s hymn is ideally suited for use during a Maundy Thursday foot-washing and/or communion service (perhaps placing the foot-washing or communion sharing between verses 3 and 4). However, the hymn may also be sung at any point during Holy Week or as part of communion celebrations at other times of the year.
This hymn is based on the events of Maundy Thursday, inspired by Matthew Prevett’s tune, “Passiontide”.
With short, memorable phrases, Sue McCoan evokes an image of Jesus exhausted by the physical demands of his ministry and the mental strain of preparing for his by now inevitable death. Without mentioning it, she recalls Jesus washing the dusty feet of his disciples (John 13: 1-17) before their last meal together, and his generous love is evoked by his willingness to share bread with Judas (“one who would betray him”) and friends who he knows will scatter in fear once he is arrested by the Roman authorities.
Verse 3 moves us to the Garden of Gethsemane. In a single line, Sue encapsulates Jesus’ betrayal with two words, “Judas kiss”, and his self-giving determination in two more: “unarmed, unbowed”. Jesus’ example becomes our way of being as (v.5) “empty-handed, open-hearted”, we gather, asking that God-in-Jesus will “redeem, renew, reclaim” us as Easter-inspired disciples.
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.