Lord, to Whom Shall We Go

Full Text

Lord, to whom shall we go?
Yours are the words of eternal life.

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song expresses our confidence in the truth and power of the word, as taught in Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 32 and Belgic Confession, 7: These scriptures are sufficient for they contain the will of God completely and “everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.”


Lord, to Whom Shall We Go

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Affirmation
Lord to whom shall we go? If we go to our doctor the words we hear will be diagnosis and prescription. If we go to our lawyer the words we hear will be counsel and advice. If we go to our mechanic the words we hear will be parts and labor. All these are good words, Lord, but they are not the words of eternal life. And so we go to you, the living Word of God and pray in your name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Lord, to Whom Shall We Go

Tune Information

E♭ Major

Musical Suggestion

Don’t pass over this song just because it is small. This is a wonderful confession to make, and one worthy of teaching your children (of all ages!). Consider the following possibilities:
  • Sing as a short prayer for illumination before reading Scripture during the entire Lenten season. The first time, have one person sing it, representing Peter. Or have the choir sing the response, introducing it to the congregation.
  • Gather the children up front, and if they leave for their own worship time, send them off with this refrain. Have someone ask the question, and teach the children to sing the answer. Teach it without any accompaniment; it can stand well on its own.
  • Or have the whole congregation sing the response.
  • Sing as a psalm refrain to, for example, different sections of Psalm 119, a wisdom psalm.
  • Use as a prayer refrain when considering some of the great needs of the world.
  • Sing anytime during the day or night when you are trying to discern God’s will and don’t know where to turn. This reminder that God is in control of our lives is very comforting. We need to develop the habit of having particular songs at our fingertips, or, rather, at the “fingertips” of our hearts.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 82)
— Emily Brink

Keyboard accompaniment is fine, but it is best sung unaccompanied. The melody is simple enough to teach without printed music. Everyone could sing this short refrain, but the simplest and best way would be to have one person sing the question each time, with everyone responding with the second part. If part-singing is desired, an ensemble can learn the parts, sing the question, and support the congregation on the second part.

Lord, to Whom Shall We Go

Hymn Story/Background

The text comes from Peter’s confession after a particularly difficult teaching by Jesus. After Jesus fed the five thousand, the crowd eagerly followed him, further listening to Jesus’ teaching that the “The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” The people responded, “Sir, give us this bread always.” But when Jesus then taught them that he himself was the bread of life, many of his disciples left him, finding this teaching too difficult. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Then comes this simple and profound confession by Peter that forms the text of this song, found in John 6:68. 
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

The Iona Community is an ecumenical Christian group of men and women based on the small island of Iona off the coast of Scotland. The community began in 1938 when he Rev. George MacLeod of the Church of Scotland began a ministry among the unemployed poor who had been neglected by the church. He took a handful of men to the island to rebuild the ruins of a thousand-year-old abbey church. That rebuilding became a metaphor for the rebuilding of the common life, a return to the belief that daily activity is the stuff of godly service—work, and worship. The Community has since grown to include a group of members, associates, and friends all over the United Kingdom and many other contries. In addition to many conferences that attract people to Iona from around the world, the Community is known for its publishing of new songs and prayers for worship, both developed in community and gathered from around the world. For more information on the Iona Community, check their website: www.iona.org.uk. John Bell is probably the community’s most well-known member, having composed and arranged much of the community’s music.
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