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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 13 Will you follow me?

English: The Summons/ When I call your name

Norsk: Det er navnet ditt jeg roper, vil du følge meg?

Christ giving the Keys to Peter Pietro Perugino 1482 in the Sistine Chapel the Vatican

Text: John Bell (1949-) and Graham Maule Tune: Scottish folk

For copyright reason I can’t print text, but you can find it on the links below


When Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is, they give a report on what they have heard. But when he asks them what they think, Peter, as usual, is right there. You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus applauds his confession and announces that it will be upon that rock—Peter’s confession—that his church will be built.

After Peter has been praised by the Lord, Jesus goes on to forecast his suffering and death at the hand of the rulers and then his resurrection. This is too much for Peter. He takes him aside in secret and rebukes him. How can the Messiah, so long expected, be treated like this? Don’t talk about these things. It isn’t seemly, we hear him say.

St. Peter by El Greco 1608. Notice the keys in his hand and the rock on which he is standing

Jesus then rebukes Peter. Just after he has called him the Rock on which he will build his church, he now calls him Satan! He then goes on to tell us the nature of discipleship, of what it will cost to follow him. What Jesus is saying to Peter is to follow me you must get behind me. You are not the leader here, I am. If you are the leader and not me, you will hinder my work.

There has been a lot of talk about leadership in the church over my lifetime. But it is hard to find anything in Scripture about leadership, in fact, if a church leader is not a disciple following Jesus, their work will be Satanic, Jesus says. Discipleship is all about following Jesus. As the hymn says, Jesus calls us to follow and never be the same! That takes humility, but also a kind of courage. Jesus doesn’t promise us a rose garden if we follow him, at least not on the journey. To follow Jesus is to give up one’s life. Those who would save their lives will lose them, Jesus promises. The rose garden comes when he returns with his angels in the glory of his Father. Then he will repay us according to what we have done.

Trying to save oneself with one’s own power is a burden every Christian knows. We carry the burden around to exhaustion. Its weight will finally kill us. To follow is to lose oneself in Christ. "You in me and me in you," How wonderful to know, as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress learned, that beneath the cross there is a grave where our sins, and old self are buried with Christ so that we can be raised up with him. To follow him is to be free and capable of serving him with love.


John Bell

John Bell has been something of the guru of recent contemporary hymnody over the past quarter century. A Scottish pastor and at one time serving the Iona community, he has been noted especially for his use of Celtic folk tunes for his texts. These folk tunes which seem washed in the deep blue waters of the turbulent North Sea can make almost any text sound great, but Bell’s skill with a text, especially in the repetitions one finds in this text, works especially well with this gorgeous Scottish tune.

Bell, born in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, had musical talent from the beginning and intended to a music teacher, but a call to the ministry, especially to serve the poor, changed the direction of his life. He served as associate pastor at the English Reformed Church in Amsterdam. From there he returned to the Church of Scotland as a youth pastor. He began writing hymns along with his colleague Graham Maule, when he realized there were no hymns on various topics central to the Christian faith. This has become one of the most popular of his hymns and can be found in most contemporary hymnals around the world. It is all about what it means to follow Christ. Note too that it is from the point of view ofJesus who is the speaker calling us, something recent hymns have done, and oddly, many on the call of God to the Christian, such as "I, the Lord of Sea and Sky," and "Borning Cry."


Chet Valley Churches (see the lyrics here)

First Plymouth Church Lincoln Nebraska

The University of Notre Dame Folk Choir

Orchard Enterprises

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