Homeless People

Tune 2

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson
Tune Name: CASTLETON

Lyrics as Poetry

Homeless people, will you listen?
I was also refugee.
Poor and hungry of my family,
I was born in poverty.

So speaks Jesus to all people
offering love and hope and peace.
In this One our God has met us
with a love that does not cease.


Anxious people, can you hear me?
I was torn and hurt by fear.
Sick and suffering, maimed and wounded,
I knew doubt and bitter tear.

So speaks Jesus to all people
offering love and hope and peace.
In this One our God has met us
with a love that does not cease.


Homeless people, will you listen?
I was also refugee.
Poor and hungry of my family,
I was born in poverty.

So speaks Jesus to his followers.
Friends of his must learn to give.
Life is ours to share with others.
We are bound with all who live.


Anxious people, can you hear me?
I was torn and hurt by fear.
Sick and suffering, maimed and wounded,
I knew doubt and bitter tear.

So speaks Jesus to his followers.
Friends of his must learn to give.
Life is ours to share with others.
We are bound with all who live.


Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1977 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

BY WALTER FARQUHARSON


There are two aspects to this hymn. It is first of all an affirmation of what it means that God becomes one with us – all of us, each of us.

The Exodus story names God as one who sees and feels the suffering of God’s people. The Psalms are predicated upon that belief – perhaps most clearly when a particular psalmist cries out that God’s presence can seem strangely lacking. We hear one of those laments in Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Who has not at some time cried out, or heard someone else cry out, “Why is this happening? Where are you God?”

The tradition of the people of faith, expressed in hymn and story, is that the suffering ones are not abandoned and the oppressed will find the road to freedom – freedom from the tyrant Pharaohs – from the place of exile and displacement – from the chains of slavery – from the place of hopelessness.

I remember meeting a woman named Angela in Mexico who was asked what kept her going as she tried to eke out a living. “I remember,” she said, “if it is not for me that better days come perhaps it will be for my children, my grand-children. That keeps me going, and God is with us.”

John the Gospel writer asserts, ”The word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Dwelt among us. Us. The easiest forgotten or shoved aside “us”. The “us” so easily turned into a “them” who have no face, no name.

So many people in our world are displaced. So many people are declared surplus. So many are pushed out – to go somewhere, to find, if they can, some place, some people who will see their humanity and welcome them. Some live in crowded detention centres waiting to be processed and assessed. Many have lived out their days within refugee camps ignored by a world that apparently has “no room in the inn”. Too often such are seen primarily as an economic, social or political problem.

The second aspect of the hymn is the call that comes to us as friends or disciples of Jesus. If we follow Jesus we learn to see with Jesus’ eyes. We see our kinfolk – his and ours. “Have within you the mind that we see in Christ Jesus,” wrote Paul.

Is that not what being Christian is about? Seeing as the eyes of Christ? Hearing as the ears of Christ? Being the hands of Christ in the world? Paul, writing to the Corinthian Christians (First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 12), reminds them that they are collectively the body of Christ in the world and individually members of it. It is instructive that these words immediately precede the great hymn to love (First Corinthians 13). Love isn’t an emotion or an exalted spiritual state. It is a flesh-taking, action-taking dynamic and creative power driven by the Spirit. That’s why and how love is described by Paul as greater than faith, greater than hope.

John the Gospel writer tells of Jesus, in his last hours with his closest followers, repeatedly emphasizing the importance of love, and of them loving each other. Again it is not a theoretical, easy or safe kind of love but a love that engages all Jesus’ followers in community and world. John quotes Jesus as saying, “Truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and, in fact, will do greater works than these…” (John 14:12).


Here is a spiritual exercise
which has been powerful for me:

I think of the holy family first in that familiar manger scene in Bethlehem but then I see them hurrying, fleeing homeland, fleeing tyrant, hiding.

Then I imagine I am travelling through a city or town or countryside observing different environments, observing people going about their day by day living, wondering and trying to see what their lives are really like. I question myself, “Can I imagine, can I see, the holy family there – part of this scene, part of this humanity, no longer tucked into long ago times or pageant clothing, but clearly immersed in the present?

Or, more simply, I might watch the news and, in each scene and situation that’s presented, ask the same question. “Can I see the holy family there?

If the answer is affirmative, then what difference does it make? Am I called to rethink this situation and my responses to it?  Have I been seeing the humanity of people such as these or have I unthinkingly seen them through old assumptions, old judgements? Have I missed some essential ingredient in understanding how some situations have been created, how they have been perpetuated, or how some within those situation are working for change, for reconciliation or transformation? Am I called to take action?  If so what form might that take?

If the answer is negative, what is it that prevents me from seeing the holy family in that place? Is it something within me, prompted by something I scarcely remember or something I don’t want to consider?   Or, is it something within my society or the group(s) I belong to?  Is it fear? Anger? Envy?

Scripture References

  • Exodus 23:9
  • Leviticus 19:33-34
  • Deuteronomy 26:1-8
  • Matthew 2:19-23

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Discipleship
  • God∶ nature of
  • Homelessness
  • Hope
  • Human Relationships
  • Jesus∶ refugee
  • Relationships∶ relationships with others
  • Service, Serving

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