Multicultural WorshipStories

Song Story: Unto Me

Our worshipping community is made of diverse people from different parts of the world. As we’ve spent more time together, one thing that has caught my attention is various ways of hospitality being practiced in our own community. 

In my Korean culture, we usually provide light snacks when a guest arrives whether the guest asks for it or not. Also we usually insist that guests will stay for the meal. According to my Syrian friends’ culture, when a guest arrives, the host is not supposed to ask how long the guest will be staying. You host the guest until the guest decides to leave. It could be a few days to a few months!

People in a modern society have turned hospitality into businesses. Something that was part of people’s daily lives has been separated from them, and now when someone is sick they go to the hospital. When someone needs a place to stay, they go to a hostel or hotel. When someone’s dying, people send the dying person to hospice. Valuables are cared for by insurance, government subsidies and charitable organizations specialized in serving the poor and weak. 

The Bible emphasizes hospitality as an essential practice of God’s people. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament mention hospitality multiple times because the lives of the people depend on it. Sojourners, foreigners, widows, orphans all depended on the hospitality provided by others. 

“Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” – Exodus 23:9 

“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God. – Leviticus 19:9-10 

“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” – Romans 12:13

“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13:2 

In our community, hospitality is not an ancient practice but still alive and well among believers. And it grieves our hearts when followers of Jesus are known more for hostility (xenophobia: fear of strangers) than hospitality (philoxenia: love of strangers). Biblical hospitality is more than writing a check to charity or recommending others for shelters. Hospitality always involves sacrifice and vulnerability of the host.

I had a growing desire to write a song about hospitality, and finally a small group of friends got together to write a song based on Matthew 25:31-46. While we were writing this song, I found out there’s a direct relation between hospitality done to strangers and worship to God. Can worship to our God be done by providing hospitality to strangers, marginalized, refugees, and undocumented immigrants around us? Absolutely! 

Toward the end of the recorded version of this song, you can hear our friends from around the world reading the verse below. It brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to their voices. Let it be a reminder from our King what true worship to Him looks like. 

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ” – Matthew 25:40

[written by Jaewoo Kim]


Unto Me

Written by Jaewoo Kim, Josh Davis, Grace Funderburgh
Download mp3 and chord chart

LYRICS:
When I was thirsty you gave me a drink
When I was sick you came to visit me
When I was homeless you welcomed me in

You saw me, You heard me. You took the time to care (2x)

What you’ve offered them you have offered me
What you’ve done for them you’ve done for me
What you’ve offered them you have offered me
What you’ve done for them you’ve done for me

To love them is to love me
To serve them is to serve me (4x)

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