Help Us Accept Each Other
Help us accept each other as Christ accepted us;
teach us sister, brother, each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us, and bring us to believe
we are ourselves accepted and meant to love and live.
Teach us, O Lord, your lessons, as in our daily life
we struggle to be human and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people, for all, not just for some,
to love them as we find them, or as they may become.
Let your acceptance change us, so that we may be moved
in living situations to do the truth in love;
to practice your acceptance, until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness and laughter’s healing art.
Lord, for today’s encounters with all who are in need,
who hunger for acceptance, for righteousness and bread,
we need new eyes for seeing, new hand for holding on;
renew us with your spirit; Lord, free us, make us one!
This hymn was written by Fred Kaan (b.1929 – d. 2009), a minister of the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom. He grew up in Holland during WWII and served local churches in Wales and England. He also served as executive secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. His hymns, in excess of 200, “invariably have social justice at their centre.”
This hymn speak of acceptance – of self, of others, and of/by God. Acceptance is seen as the ability to love the other as ourselves, to care for everyone, the willingness to be changed by God, and the openness to God’s freeing Spirit. The is a prayer hymn with specific petitions: to believe in myself; to learn what it means to be a caring human being; to change within myself as I “practice” God’s acceptance; and to be renewed as I accept others.
Reflect on this hymns and these questions:
Where do I have problems with accepting others?
How can I assist someone in “becoming” a loving, caring human being?
What should I bring to “the table of forgiveness?” God’s grace and forgiveness is available to me – am I willing to accept it?
Where do I see people looking for “acceptance, righteousness and bread?” How can I help them in their search? Can I make their path easier?
How does this hymn influence my reactions to the immigrant and stranger?
Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence
Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.