Come to Us, Beloved Stranger

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This text, in contrast to other Easter texts which proclaim Christ’s cataclysmic victory over death and hell, speaks of Christ’s resurrected and renewed presence in our own despair, loss, and brokenness. It is a soul-nurturing portrait of and prayer to Jesus, who cares for his disciples in an intimate and personal way. 


-Sing! A New Creation

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Easter hymns accomplish three functions: they recount the Easter narrative, proclaim our Easter hope, and celebrate our joy at Christ’s resurrection. This hymn is built on the professions of Easter truths that are expressed primarily in Heidelberg Catechism. Note especially the following:

  • Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 declares that Christ’s resurrection makes us share in Christ’s righteousness, raises us to a new life by his power, and is a sure pledge to us of our resurrection.
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 57 comforts us to know that not only our soul but “also my very flesh will be raised by the power of God, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.”
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58 says that it may be a comfort to know that while experiencing the beginning of eternal joy now, “after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.”

In addition, Our Song of Hope, stanza 5 professes: “On the day of the resurrection, the tomb was empty; His disciples saw Him; death was defeated; new life had come. God’s purpose for the world was sealed.”


Come to Us, Beloved Stranger

Additional Prayers

The following is particularly appropriate for the opening of an evening service focusing on
the Emmaus text (Luke 24:13-35).
Stay with us, Lord Jesus, for the day is almost over.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus,
we face times of depression, hopelessness, and fear.
Just when we think we understand your plan,
we are again baffled by an unforeseen series of events.
Dwell with us. Teach us more about you.
Feed us with your holy bread. Reveal yourself to us.
Lead us with your light and truth to such exceeding joy
that we respond in praise
and eagerly proclaim your good news.
In your holy name and in the power of your Spirit we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Speak to us now as you have spoken to us throughout the ages.
On this glorious Easter, reveal yourself and your will for our lives,
that we might live as your Easter people.
We seek your face, O Lord; hear our prayer through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
—based on Psalm 90
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

By the love with which you drew near to your disciples
as they went to Emmaus and talked together of your passion,
draw near to us and join yourself to us
and give us the knowledge of yourself.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the mercy with which at first their eyes were closed,
that they should not know you,
be merciful to those that are slow of heart to believe.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the compassion with which,
amid the joy of your resurrection, you sought out those who were sad,
console the fainthearted who have not yet learned to rejoice in you.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the patience with which you opened to them the Scriptures,
open our understanding and insight.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the fire with which you made their hearts burn
within them as you talked with them by the way,
inflame with devotion every heart
that is not already burning with love for you
and consume with zeal those that you have kindled.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the wisdom with which
you made as though you would have gone farther,
inviting them to constrain you to tarry with them,
may no one depart this place until all have received
from you the blessing you are ready to give.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the loyalty with which you went in
and tarried with the disciples when the day was far spent,
fulfill in every soul your promise that says,
“I will come to him and sup with him and he with me.”
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the blessing in which you made yourself known
to the disciples in the breaking of the bread,
may every act of yours be to us a revelation,
opening our eyes in faith, making you more fully known to us.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
By the power by which you vanished out of their sight,
that their faith in the mystery of your resurrection might be increased,
strengthen and confirm this faith in us.
Hear us, blessed Jesus.
O blessed Jesus, who,
when the doors were shut where the disciples were gathered,
came and stood in the midst and said, “Peace be unto you,”
may no fear ever place a barrier between our souls and you
or hinder us from the peace which the world cannot give.
May the peace that you gave your apostles,
sending them forth in your Father’s name as you yourself were sent,
be also upon us and remain with us always. Amen!
[Reformed Worship 18:29]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Come to Us, Beloved Stranger

Tune Information

F Major
Meter D


Musical Suggestion

Do not rush the singing of this text; stretch the cadences a bit for breathing, but keep the basic pulse steady so it doesn’t drag. The tune employs the pentatonic scale, and so could be sung in canon, perhaps in two voices at one measure for the final stanza, symbolizing our walking with and following Christ. Try singing unaccompanied; otherwise, use organ, piano, or acoustic fretted instruments such as mandolin, banjo, or guitar. 

Come to Us, Beloved Stranger

Hymn Story/Background

BEACH SPRING was first published in The Sacred Harp (1844) as a setting for Joseph Hart's "Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Wretched."
Benjamin F. White  was listed as the composer. The tune is named after the Beach Spring Baptist Church in Harris County, Georgia, where White lived. BEACH SPRING is a strong, pentatonic tune cast into a rounded bar form (AABA).
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Edith Sinclair Downings (b. Aromas, CA, May 7, 1922) long career has been as a church organist and children and youth choir director, with brief stints in Christian education and campus ministry. Edith Sinclair Downing began her ministry of writing hymns in her late sixties. This ministry in song is inspired by Scripture as well as by today's life stories. Some of the concerns she addresses are pain and suffering, care of the earth, affirmation of women, and peace and justice for all God's people. Edith's first hymn collection, A Season on Clear Shining, was published by Selah in l998. Her second collection, For Us, God's People Now, is to be published by Selah soon. Her texts appear in many denominational hymnals.
Edith received a scholarship in cello from The University of Wichita, and she also attended Baker University. She continued her studies at Chicago Theological Seminary and earned an M.A. degree in religious education from The University of Chicago in l946. In l980, she received a master of theological studies with a major in worship from Trinity Lutheran Seminary.
Edith has experience in campus and congregational ministries and in pastoral care She directed youth choirs for many years. Now in her mid-eighties, Edith continues to write hymns and play the organ in her church. She is a long-time member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.

Composer Information

Benjamin F. White (b. Spartanburg, SC, 1800; d. Atlanta, GA, 1879), was coeditor of The Sacred Harp (1844). He came from a family of fourteen children and was largely self-taught. Eventually White became a popular singing-school teacher and editor of the weekly Harris County newspaper.
— Bert Polman

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