Franklin Mason North

Defend the poor and fatherless:
do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy:
rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3 & 4

Henry David Thoreau once described the metropolis as "a place where people are lonely together". This loneliness is not the result of an absence of people; rather, it is due to a lack of genuine caring relationships.

If that observation was true of the past, it has become increasingly so in the present; and the prediction is that it will become alarmingly more so in the near future. In 1950 there were only seven cities in the world with more than five million people. Only two of these were in Third World countries. Today there are over 34 cities with more than five million people, 22 of which are in the Third World. And by the middle of the 21st Century, there will be nearly 100 cities meeting that criteria, with 80 of these in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The author of this text, Franklin North, was a Methodist minister in New York City. He wrote this hymn in response to a request from the Methodist hymnal committee for a hymn about big city life, which Pastor North knew well and to which he was most sympathetic. The hymn first appeared in 1903 in the publication The Christian City, of which North was the editor. Father, help us to be people with sensitivity and compassion.

Where cross the crowded ways of life,
Where sound the cries of race and clan
Above the noise of selfish strife,
We hear your voice, O Son of man.

In haunts of wretchedness and need,
On shadowed thresholds dark with fears,
From paths where hide the lures of greed,
We catch the vision of Your tears.

From tender childhood’s helplessness,
From woman’s grief, man’s burdened toil,
From famished souls, from sorrow’s stress,
Your heart has never known recoil.

The cup of water giv'n for You,
Still holds the freshness of Your grace;
Yet long these multitudes to view
The sweet compassion of Your face.

O Master, from the mountainside
Make haste to heal these hearts of pain;
Among these restless throngs abide;
O tread the city’s streets again.

Till sons of men shall learn Your love
And follow where Your feet have trod,
Till, glorious from Your Heav'n above,
Shall come the City of our God!

*For Today*: Zechariah 7:8-10; Matthew 10:42, 22:9; Luke 4:18; I Peter 2:21

Determine to become better acquainted with a person from another culture or ethnic background. Perhaps invite his or her family to your home for dinner and fellowship. Ask God to help you think globally, to understand and LOVE the multi-cultural world Jesus died to redeem.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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