This hymn was written some years ago, responding to a call to provide sanctuary for people on the margins by Rev’d Inderjit Bhogal, (Past President of the Methodist Conference) - https://inderjitbhogal.com/category/sanctuary/ - Sadly both the call and the hymn are still pertinent. We wait to welcome guests to our countries. ‘Cities of sanctuary’, could read, ‘Towns offer sanctuary’, ‘Places of sanctuary’ or Churches of sanctuary’, depending on your situation.
Cities of sanctuary, places of safety, here where all strangers are welcomed and blessed, we stand with Jesus in love of our neighbour, here in our actions his love is expressed.
We will act justly while offering mercy, nurturing humbly a gospel of peace, welcome all people regardless of status, counter celebrity, value the least.
Here in a world that is cruel and unyielding God's hospitality values the poor; this is the scandal of love without limits, loving the unloved, then loving them more.
We will not rest till each migrant is welcomed. We will share bread till the hungry are fed. We will confront each injustice that greets us, loving with vigour till hatred is dead.
This is pertinent to the situation that we live in. Today people in this country who are different live in fear. The best we can offer to those who are different from ourselves, in whatever way, is to enable them to feel accepted and welcome and not afraid. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fpbq
What sharp protestations might echo the prophets,
could mirror the actions of Christ and the cross?
We witness indifference, inaction and malice,
that break up communities, add to our loss.
But how can we counter political action
that builds upon selfishness slander and lies,
that blinds us to suffering, homelessness, hunger,
ignoring these needs as our barren earth dies?
While violence surrounds us, our dark contemplation
breeds hopelessness, helplessness, absence of light;
yet here in the darkness a spark might still smoulder,
that love might still fan to dispel hatred’s night.
Join hands now, God’s people, let love be our watchword,
let Christ be our model of life giving grace,
that those of each nation, the war torn, the migrant,
may find they are welcome right now in this place.