The Common Good

A New Hymn for Holy Week: Jesus’ Ways for Peace

Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday and the week that follows — Holy Week — are times for Christians to remember and share the biblical stories of Jesus’ teachings and actions for peace. These stories encourage us to pray and work for peace, especially in light of those who are now threatening a new war with Iran. “Nine Years of War in Iraq: A Sojourners Retrospective” is a powerful reminder that churches need to do more.

"The Agony in the Garden" by Paul Gaugin, 1889. Via Getty Images.
"The Agony in the Garden" by Paul Gaugin, 1889. Via Getty Images.

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Last year Sojourners posted a new hymn for Palm Sunday with peace themes, “Lord, What a Parade!” by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.

This year the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church in North Carolina commissioned Carolyn to write a new hymn about Jesus’ nonviolent actions and compassion at the time of his arrest.




Jesus Went Out to a Garden

BEACH SPRING D ("God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending")

Jesus went out to a garden to a quiet place to pray.

In the night, a crowd came round him, led by Judas on their way.

They seized Jesus to arrest him; someone near then drew a sword.

Soon a slave was injured, suffering there beside our suffering Lord.

Jesus spoke to stop the violence:  “Put your sword back in its place.”

Then he touched the slave and healed him in a moment filled with grace.

For as violence leads to violence causing more distress and pain—

So compassion in abundance is a witness to God’s reign.

God of love, we pause and wonder: Did that slave give quiet praise?

Yet the story marches onward with the pain that it portrays.

For the One who brought such healing soon was broken, on a cross,

To our sinful world revealing violence has an awful cost.

God, the gospels bear a witness:  Your Son’s death was not the end.

By your grace, you raised up Jesus; sin and violence did not win.

May we work to end all suffering; lead us in Christ’s peaceful way.

May his peace become an offering that we share throughout each day


Biblical References: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11
Suggested Tune: The Sacred Harp, 1844. Harm. James H. Wood, 1958.
Text: Copyright © 2012 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Hymn Use Permission:  Churches that support Sojourners have copyright permission to use “Jesus Went Out to a Garden” in their local church.  The Presbyterian Outlook magazine does have this hymn formatted with the music as a downloadable file.

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of Songs of Grace: New Hymns for God and Neighbor and Gifts of Love: New Hymns for Today’s Worship. She serves with her husband Bruce as co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. Sojourners' past postings by Carolyn includes hymns for Palm/Passion Sunday, Ash Wednesday/Social Justice,  World Water Day, Blessing the Animals, relief efforts in the Horn of AfricaSeptember 11th anniversarycreation care, economic justice, Matthew 25/disaster relief, immigration, the Gulf oil spill and war in Iraq.  A complete list of the 200+ hymns by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, many with peace and justice themes, can be found at  


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