Come! Live in the light! Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord! We are called to be light for the kingdom, to live in the freedom of the city of God…
Written in the late 1980s, this hymn is one with which Presbyterians are only more recently becoming familiar (though our Lutheran and Methodist brethren have been using it for quite some time). It was composed as an extension of the invitation in Micah 6:8: we are called to act with justice; we are called to love tenderly; we are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.
Through its three verses, the writer, David Haas, expands the prophet’s vision into both a Christian mission and a global one. On the Christian side, we know that we are called to live to seek God’s Kingdom in our world – a kingdom of love, joy, hope, and peace. We are called to fulfill Micah’s vision as descendants-in-the-faith of Abraham. We are called to embrace the world that God loves. That is where the vision begins, but it does not end there.
One of my favorite places I have seen a version of this hymn used is as a part of the worship celebrations of the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, where I live and minister. Bear in mind that the IFGBR is made up of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Bahai, other religions, and just about every Christian denomination you can think of. We use the words as a benediction at our special gatherings throughout the year. Our director, the Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade, has adapted the language so that Haas’ message of unity might be spread even further. For surely, though we may seek from different paths, it is One God who still seeks after us.
Imagine what the world would look like if we truly took this message to heart. Though we may all be different, we are bound not only in our common humanity, but also in our creation as God’s beloved children. There are many obstacles to overcome, to be sure. But there is far more of life that we share in common.
So, may this be a prayer for the unity of all God’s children, whoever they may be: Come! Open your heart! Show your mercy to all those in fear! We are called to be hope for the hopeless so hatred and violence will be no more… Sing! Sing a new song! Sing of that great day when all will be one! God will reign, and we’ll walk with each other as sisters and brothers united in love. Amen.