In this house all people will be welcome (website only)

"Let the cross shine out like a beacon" © 2015 Thinkstock UK, a division of Getty Images

In this house all people will be welcome.
In this house all people will find love.
Open the doors so all the world may enter.
Open your hearts and share the love of God.

Refrain

Let the cross shine out like a beacon
bringing hope to all who need your love.
As we sing our song of adoration
let our lives reflect the love of God.

We are here to worship in God’s presence,
singing songs of worship, songs of love.
Just as this place bears witness to God’s splendour
may our lives bear witness to his love.

Refrain

For the Church is more than bricks and concrete,
more than glass and metal, nails and wood.
It’s in the lives of all of those who serve him
and who show the world the love of God.

Refrain

Words: © Paul McDermott

Metre: Irregular with refrain

Tune: Download tune with words as a PDF

Ideas for use

Some congregations may not find it easy to learn the tune Paul has provided for this hymn, so you may wish to consider alternative ways of using his words.

One effective technique would be to share the words out reponsively. You can vary how you do this according to your resources and numbers: perhaps between a leader and the congregation; perhaps between different groups or “sides” in the congregation. e.g.

In this house all people will be welcome.
In this house all people will find love.
Open the doors so all the world may enter.
Open your hearts and share the love of God.

Refrain

Let the cross shine out like a beacon
bringing hope to all who need your love.
As we sing our song of adoration
let our lives reflect the love of God.

However you divide the words up, encourage to speakers to proclaim these words with enthusiasm!

Also consider adding movement and actions to the words e.g.

  • Use the words as a processional, gathering members of the congregation outside the main entrance to the sanctuary and then walking in proclaiming Paul’s words.
  • Lead a procession with a lit flame (as large as health and safety allows!) and light a candle or candles within the sanctuary.
  • Think about visualising the final verse. Do you have bricks, lumps of concrete, glass and metal etc, that can be piled up? Contrast this with images of members of your congregation and the community in which you live.

If you have other ideas for using this hymn, please let us know so we can share your experiences.

More information

It was once the case, and probably still is, that if you flew into the South Korean capital of Seoul at night, what might strike you most was the sight of countless red neon crosses shining out from the top of the city’s many Christian churches. And it is this image – of a cross shining out like a beacon – that makes this hymn distinctive.

Other hymns share its theme of being a welcoming, inclusive community (e.g. Let us build a house where love can dwell, StF 409); and of proclaiming God’s love through our lives and actions (e.g. Beyond these walls of worship, StF 547). However, Paul’s refrain brings both those themes into sharp focus by alluding to the example of Jesus, dying on a cross in order to ensure that we get the message: God’s love cannot be dimmed by death. As Martin Luther King Jr put it: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Paul’s hymn insists that opening the doors of our churches “so all the world may enter” is not sufficient on its own; indeed, that can be a mere, passive action. Rather, opening doors demands that we look outwards and respond actively with lives of service.

This hymn text arises out of a specific event in the life of Paul’s city centre Methodist church in Lichfield (see photo left).

In 2011, the church underwent a major restructuring of its worship area. This involved opening up the street wall with two pairs of large clear glass doors and the installation of a large illuminated stained glass cross on the opposite wall. This cross now shines out on to the busy road. People passing by can see inside the building and, not infrequently, come in to see what is going on. The church’s minister, Roger Baker, adds: “Importantly, the church is also encouraged to look out into the world through those glass doors and, just as the glass doors invite people in, they invite us to go out.”

Paul writes: “I was in the building on my own late one evening, just before the works were completed, and the inspiration for the refrain came to me. The verses followed fairly quickly afterwards on the theme that we need to take God’s love out into the world in which we live.”

Categories: Commitment/Dedication, Gathering, Gathering in God's Presence, Hymns only online (submit to stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk), Jesus Risen and Ascended, McDermott, Paul, Mission and Evangelism.

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