Building on Faith

a hymn for Habitat for Humanity

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Shirley Erena Murray
Tune Name: OTT

Lyrics as Poetry

Building on faith, new lives are possible,
building on trust, habitats grow,
here is a roof, housing a family,
here is the proof that we care —

we’ll build on faith, faith with a heart
feeling humanity’s need,
we’ll do our part, lifting the load,
joining the word to the deed.

Maybe we’re raw, God’s new apprentices,
maybe we’re skilled, ready to go,
all in a team, proud to be laborers,
raising the roof for our cause —

we’ll build on faith, faith with a heart
feeling humanity’s need,
we’ll do our part, lifting the load,
joining the word to the deed.

More than a base, more than a dwelling place,
more than a home, building will prove,
blessing us all, making a difference:
this is a labor of love —

we’ll build on faith, faith with a heart
feeling humanity’s need,
we’ll do our part, lifting the load,
joining the word to the deed.


Words by
Shirley Erena MurrayCopyright © 2001 by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

Comment by
SHIRLEY ERENA MURRAY
from her book
“Faith Makes the Song” (#4):

“An expression of my support for
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
which completed its 100th house
for needy families in New Zealand in 2001.”


Faith Makes the Song
is published by:Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, IL USA


A Reflection by
WALTER FARQUHARSON

Over many years Habitat for Humanity has proven to be one of those places where faith truly connects with practiced caring. Too often there’s a disconnect. Our worlds so easily divide into camps, into factions that see “them” and “us”. We know it should be different, that we should learn to see things from another’s perspective, that we should try to walk a mile in another’s shoes, that we should never lose sight of another’s humanity. We know, but obviously we forget, we lose intentionality, we deny. Doing things together often moves us into healthier places, healthier communities, a healthier world. As the Letter of James says so clearly we need to be doers of the word, not hearers only. Habitat for Humanity has not only been a doing, it has been a transforming experience for individuals and communities. It is worth exploring.

A Sunday School teacher was making the point that it was important to be doers of the word, and that it was especially good when we did things together with others, when we were true companions. Then she told her group of 8 year olds that companions were literally “those we share bread with, those we eat with.” “What else do companions do together?” she asked. “Burp!” was the immediate response she received. And there was laughter. Afraid the floodgates might be opened she quickly moved to another topic. How good it would have been had she been able to say, “Right you are, and we laugh together too…”

Habitat for Humanity brings together those who will live in the new home when it is constructed and those varied people who build and offer their gifts, skills and experience. Add in those who organize work schedules and those who plan and provide food for the workers and those who will soon be neighbors. Community is created. Caring is felt and practiced. There’s a pretty good chance that everyone who participates sweats, gets covered with sawdust or drywall dust or paint splatter. Companions, people whose faith takes flesh, do that. Picture the carpenter from Nazareth in the middle of it all, really in the middle of it all!

There are other activities that can bring people together to do good – planting trees, helping with community gardens, cleaning a portion of highway ditches, waterways, or places in a town or city where trash accumulates, helping in a food bank or a “stretch your budget clothing depot”. Just let there be no “us” and “them”.

This song was composed to honour a special anniversary in the life of Habitat for Humanity, New Zealand. It describes well our call to be doers of the word. “…we’ll build on faith, faith with a heart feeling humanity’s need, we’ll do our part …”. Each habitat project requires a lot of faith, lot of trust. There must be commitment to see the project and the promise through. There must be trust of all participants, trust of each other and of those behind the scenes whose roles are each important. “Maybe we’re raw, God’s new apprentices, maybe we’re skilled ready to go, all in a team, proud to be labourers, raising the roof for our cause -”

Much is defined in our day by naming it as crisis or crises. Each newly named crisis takes its place in the catalogue of crises. Each crisis calls for analysis, retrospection, examination of root causes and contributing factors. We hold meetings, seminars, webinars, enquiries, commissions. We publish reports and create graphs and presentations. We speak of findings and recommendations, many of which will identify what someone else needs to do. What is too often missing is “feeling humanity’s need”.

Humanity must be seen as each child of God, each sister or brother, each parent or child, each group, each community. As Paul said, if one part of the body suffers all parts suffer. When we feel humanity’s need we feel with them, with them in both their individual and corporate reality. Then we will be motivated. Then we will act. Then we will act together. Then change will happen, transformation and redemption will breathe. Jesus healed. Jesus liberated. Jesus forgave and restored, welcomed and empowered. It is interesting indeed to read the gospels with this question: When Jesus saw a child, a woman, a man, what (who) did he see? When I see, what (who) do I see?

When we see, and allow ourselves to feel then “we’ll do our part, lifting the load, joining the word to the deed”.


Activity: If you know lots about Habitat for Humanity make a point of telling others about it. If you know a little but would like to learn more research it. Read about the beginnings of the movement in Georgia USA as an outgrowth of Koinonia Farms that had been begun by Clarence Jordan. Learn Habitat for Humanity’s worldwide expansion. More importantly, check to see where nearby Habitat Builds have occurred, are in progress, or are being planned.

You might find the support and hands-on involvement of former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn very interesting. YouTube is a good source of videos featuring the Carters.

                                                    Audio Sample for: "Building on Faith"

One verse and refrain
played on piano

Scripture References

  • Matthew 7:21-27
  • Luke 6:46-49
  • Romans 12:1-13
  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
  • 1 Corinthians 12:26
  • Ephesians 5:1
  • James 1:22

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Commitment, Dedication
  • Community
  • Faith
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Trust

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