Worship

Help Us Accept Each Other

Each of us is unique. Our differences are marked by our race, culture, language, denomination and religion. These are manifested through our individual disposition, mindset and opinions on various contexts and issues surrounding our everyday lives.

How do we navigate our lives with so many people different from us? Be it at home, work, church, or anywhere, diversity is just before us.

At least once a week, we gather as a Christian community to express our faith and celebrate God’s goodness. Is worship a time or place when we can reconcile our differences?

Diversity is an issue of worship. When we want to encounter God, that also means we want to encounter the people who are so different from us, all of whom God has made in His image—not just those we meet on Sunday, but also the rest of the week.

We need songs to inform us about Jesus’ character and goodness; to form, shape and help us navigate through the week’s journey.

The hymn “Help us Accept Each Other” is an example of a powerful hymn that teaches us to have grace and generosity with people who are different from us, or people whose opinions we might not agree with. Dr Michael Hawn, a renowned American church musician, theologian and lecturer, describes the hymn as one of the most powerful hymns on reconciliation and forgiveness composed in the last half of the 20th century.1

The hymn points us to Ephesians 4:25–5:2; summarised by N. T. Wright in his lecture on the Epistle to the Ephesians: “so you should be imitators of God, conduct yourselves in love just as the Messiah loves us, and gave himself for us, as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.”2


1 C. Michael Hawn, “History of Hymns: Help Us Accept Each Other,” Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church, June 2013, https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-help-us-accept-each-other

2 N. T. Wright, “Paul and His Letter to the Ephesians,” https://www.udemy.com/course/paul-and-his-letter-to-the-ephesians/learn/lecture/9054450#overview

HELP US ACCEPT EACH OTHER

(UMH 560)

Help us accept each other
as Christ accepted us;
teach us as 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 justice and for bread,
we need new eyes for seeing,
new hands for holding on:
renew us with your Spirit;

Lord, free us, make us one!

Text: Fred Kaan, 1974 (Jn. 15:12)

 

Here are two contemporary settings of the hymn that might be simpler to sing than the one in the hymnal.

https://youtu.be/49zFSbxS37Y

https://youtu.be/ANPim80beOA

If you prefer the hymn setting but sung in a contemporary style, here is one from
Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church.

https://youtu.be/vp3WklXSAJ4

Judith Laoyan-Mosomos is the Director for Worship and Church Music at the Methodist School of Music, and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.

Menu