When deciding which songs to include in my album, at some point I noticed that the songs were almost entirely about me — my personal, individual bubble with God. That didn’t seem right. The 2 great commandments are Love God and Love my neighbor… so statistically speaking, shouldn’t about 50% of my songs be about my neighbour?
Jesus talked a lot about right relationship with God (which is great), but so much of Jesus’s life revolved around caring for the most vulnerable and establishing a Kingdom where everyone — actually everyone — is welcome. And tragically, throughout history, the Church has instead earned a reputation for excluding people.
So I remembered a fragment of a song I had written years ago about radical hospitality, and I decided to finish it and add it to the album.
I especially think of this song as Halifax’s homeless are removed from their temporary shelters and Afghan refugees are looking for a home. When it comes to refugees, the traditional narrative is “We welcomed them into our country,” but I’ve found the reverse: the most extravagant hospitality I’ve experienced has come from refugee neighbours, Syrian friends — many who don’t have a lot extra to give, but still enough to make me their guest.
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Welcome, make yourself at home
Meet our family
Come unravel from your travels
Do you take milk in your tea?
Take a load off, grab a chair
Leave your jacket anywhere
Oh welcome, drop in any time
Consider yourself a friend of mine
Welcome, let me be your servant
It’s no trouble at all
Your coat, I’ll toss it in the closet
There’s a bathroom down the hall
I know you’ve had a long, hard road
Rest in my humble abode
Oh welcome, please don’t mind the mess
It’s not much but here’s my best
Welcome, weary wanderer
Wander off no more
Put a fruitcake in your suitcase
Anything that’s mine is yours
We’re one body thanks to him
Greetings to my fellow limb
Oh welcome, let me take your shoes
You’re one of us, and I’m one of you
Welcome, brother, sister, mother
No one’s perfect here
Tell us more – you have the floor
If you’re all talking, I’m all ears
I don’t mind what you’ve been through
God forgave me plenty, too
So welcome, we approve of you
Jesus does so I will too
Welcome to the Father’s feast
I’m no better than you
Come to dinner, fellow sinner
We’ve reserved a place for you
New creations that we are,
Doesn’t mean we don’t have scars
So welcome, please have no more fear
We’re just delighted that you’re here
Emma Flowerdew: vocals
Mark: vocals, tenor ukulele, concert ukulele, banjo ukulele, mandolin, banjo, accordion, euphonium, trombones, programming, mixing
Written by Mark Amadeus Flowerdew. Recorded in Mark’s home in Halifax NS.
Mastered by Don Chapman. Title card by Mark.
Released August 20, 2021.
ISRC: CAREH2100007, ISWC: T3064621116, ©&℗ 2021 Mark Amadeus Flowerdew