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Will you come and follow me

Hymns we love to sing 

 

 

 

 

 

Will you come and follow me
if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know
and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown
in you and you in me?

 

Will you leave yourself behind
if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind
and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare
should your life attract or scare?
Will you let me answer prayer
in you and you in me?

 

Will you let the blinded see
if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free
and never be the same?
Will you kiss the leper clean
and do such as this unseen,
and admit to what I mean
in you and you in me?

 

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound
in you and you in me?

 

Lord, your summons echoes true
when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go
where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I’ll move and live and grow
in you and you in me.

 

‘Will you come and follow meis from the writing partnership of two leading members of the Iona Community in Scotland, John Bell and Graham Maule.

The Iona Community we know today was founded in 1938 by the celebrated Revd. George Macleod, a Church of Scotland minister in Govan, Glasgow. He had a vision of an ecumenical community centred on the restored medieval abbey buildings on the island of Iona. It has been a powerhouse for the Social Gospel movement for the last seventy or so years and has been at the fore in experimental worship and modern hymnody.

 

This liturgical aspect of Iona’s ministry is centred on its ‘Wild Goose’ publications. ‘The ‘Wild Goose’ is an ancient Irish symbol of the Holy Spirit. Over the years its three group members, John Bell, Graham Maule and Jo Love, have produced over fifty resource books and Cds for congregational worship. Much of the material has been drawn from Celtic Christian spirituality and aims to be relevant, modern and participatory.           

John Bell [born 1949] is a Church of Scotland minister who lives in Glasgow. He is an accomplished musician and lectures all over the world. In 2002 he was honoured by Glasgow University with and Honorary Doctorate and by the Royal School of Church Music. 

Graham Maule originally qualified as an architect.   He later trained to be a youth worker before moving into the area of worship renewal and adult education with the ‘Wild Goose Resource Group’. His particular interests are lay training and innovative worship.

‘Will you come and follow me’ is typical of many of the worship songs to emerge from Iona. It is set to a traditional Scottish melody, ‘Kelvingrove’, and is often referred to as ‘The Summons’. It takes as its theme the ‘Call of Christ’. 

The Gospels tell us that our Lord called others to ‘follow him’, whether it was the Galilean fishermen who left their nets to become ‘fishers of people’, or his disciples who were encouraged to ‘take up their cross’.

 Through the centuries, as today, Christ continues to call his saints to a life of faith, prayer and service.

‘Will you come and follow me’  celebrates how the Lord calls us by name so that his life can be grown in us. It is a way of living that involves taking up the cross and to ‘risk the hostile stare’. It is a call to love in action which liberates the captive and blind and which dares to ‘kiss the leper clean’. It is a summons, too, to self discovery and to the faith that can conquer our inner fears. The hymn ends with a prayer for strength to follow and ‘never be the same’. For in responding to Christ’s call to love in action we move and live and grow in him and he in us. 

Though ‘The Summons’ is a worship song of our generation its call to the Christian pilgrim is a timeless one.

 


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