Never Turn Away

Never Turn Away

Richard E. Spalding
Chaplain, Williams College
Williamstown, Massachusetts

8.7.8.7 D
tune: BEACH SPRING
[alternative tunes: IN BABILONE, PROMISE, RAQUEL]

 

1.

In the desert where they’d wandered
with a billion stars in view,
Abraham and Sarah pondered
how the promise could be true.
Though at first to hope seemed folly,
in the night they heard God say,
“Every star’s a child of promise
I will never turn away.”

 

[Gen. 15:1-6]
2.

With a majesty that stunned her
as she prayed for grace to share
Came a word on wings of wonder
as an answer to her prayer.
Mary magnified the message:
“Let it be just as you say—
From the birth of Love Incarnate
I will never turn away.”

 

[Luke 1:26-38]
3.

In a time of strife and blindness,
to the welter of the world
Came a man whose Godly kindness
bore the pain of curses hurled.
Love unbowed raised up the loveless,
as each one heard Jesus say,
“All who come to me believing
I will never turn away.”

 

[John 1:10-13] 

[Isaiah 53:3-5]

 

[John 6:37]

4.

To the bearer of Christ’s mission—
“Feed my sheep in every place”—
Was entrusted a revision
of the breadth of God’s embrace.
Though at first such grace seemed reckless,
Peter heard the Spirit say,
“Every life made clean by loving
I will never turn away.”

 

[John 21:15-17]
[Acts 10:9-16]
5.

With a flagrant faith, impassioned
by a still more noble way,
An apostle’s pen refashioned
the devotion of his day.
“Hearts of faith contain this treasure
(though it’s held in jars of clay):
Every soul whose joy is Jesus
He will never turn away.”

 

 [I Cor. 12:31]

 

[II Cor. 4:7]

[Phil. 4:4-7]

 

6.

To the fragile, fateful beauty
of the fractious human race
Comes a church whose joyful duty
is to wield this word of grace:
Male and female, poor and wealthy,
Every color, straight and gay,
All who seek to find this Kingdom
Christ will never turn away!

 

  

 

[Gal. 3:28]

[Matt. 6:33]

7.

And the gentiles, and the lowly,
those ignored and those in chains,
Those reviled or thought unholy
trust the Love that lives and reigns.
Even now we hear their voices
sighing with us as we pray—
“Jesus, we are those you promised
You would never turn away!”

 

[Eph. 2:11-13] 

 

[Rom. 8:26-28]

 

  Rev. Spalding wrote this hymn en route home from the Covenant Conference in Minneapolis in November 2002. It was sung in the closing service of the Covenant Conference in Washington, DC, in November 2003. It was a prize-winner in the 2002 Hymn Competition for hymn texts celebrating an inclusive church, sponsored by the Macalester-Plymouth United Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.NOTES: Choose verses appropriate to text, season, or particular use (not all at once!)

Other possible hymn tunes:

 
  ABBOT’S LEIGH
BEECHER
BETHANY
BLAENHAFREN
CONSTANTINE
CONVERSE
EBENEZER
ERIE
GENEVA
HYFRYDOL
HYMN TO JOY
JEFFERSON
JOEL
NETTLETON
NEW REFORMATION
OFFERING
OMNI DIE
PLEADING SAVIOR
PROCESSION
SILVER CREEK
WEISSE FLAGGEN
 

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