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De tierra lejana venimos (From a Distant Home)

Scripture References


De tierra lejana venimos (From a Distant Home)

Call to Worship

O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
—Psalm 98:1-3, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

A text especially mindful of children
May the light of God’s love push back the darkness.
We come to the light from the four corners of the earth,
from the north, from the south,
from the east, and from the west.
But we are all one in Jesus Christ.
We come from many nations and many cultures.
But we are all one in Jesus Christ.
We come seeking the light that guides us to life.
But we are all one in Jesus Christ.
Let us lift up our many voices and praise the God of all people.
[Reformed Worship 63:11]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

Let us praise God for the
manifestation of the Christ in his mission on earth.
Let us praise God for the Magi from the east,
who were sent to Bethlehem
to teach us to honor him
and to offer our gifts.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for the multitudes around the world
who are today using the resources of their customs and cultures
in developing new forms of worshiping the Christ.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for all those
who are presenting themselves to be baptized in the name of Christ
and for all the parents who are bringing their children to the water of Christ.
We praise you, O God.
Let us praise God for the manifestation of Christ in our own time
when the thirsty are given something to drink and the hungry are fed.
We praise you, O God.
Let us pray for Christ’s continuing epiphany
among all who long for his presence.
For your manifestation among all who long for truth
and are educated and wise in this world,
for those who conduct research and those who teach,
for those who study the stars
and those who give counsel to kings and rulers,
we seek your grace, O wisdom of God.
For your epiphany among all who are open
to your presence in the water and the wine,
and especially among those who have seen your star
but have not yet heard your name,
we seek your grace, O Savior of the nations.
For your epiphany
among all who are suffering for the cause of righteousness,
for all who are in prison,
for those who are oppressed,
and for those who are hungry, thirsty, and homeless,
we seek your grace, O Son of God.
For your manifestation of your glory
in the course of our daily lives,
in our homes, our schools, our workplaces,
and our facilities for play and entertainment,
we seek your grace, O Lamb of God.
In your name, Amen.
[Reformed Worship 13:39]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Emmanuel, God with us,
the Magi followed the star to find you.
Amazed, they gave gifts.
We too are amazed by your presence among us,
by the gift that you are to us.
With joyful hearts, we bring you our gifts
of time, of money, of ourselves.
Use these and us to serve you and your world. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

De tierra lejana venimos (From a Distant Home)

Tune Information

c minor

De tierra lejana venimos (From a Distant Home)

Hymn Story/Background

The tune’s name means literally “enchanted island.” The arrangement was made by Walter Ehret for The International Book of Christmas Carols, 1963, and retains parallel thirds in the upper voices, and the dotted eighth and sixteenth rhythm in the bass.
The carol might be included as a set piece in a nativity or Epiphany service. Stanza 1 may be sung in procession by three male and/or female solo voices in either Spanish or English. Add tambourine and other traditional rhythm instruments as the congregation begins the estribillo (chorus). As in all bilingual settings, the congregation may sing in either the original language, the translation, or both. Assign the remaining stanzas to one of the soloists as they lay the appropriate gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the baby Jesus’ crib.
United Methodist Hymnal Companion, Abingdon Press, 1993, p. 316
— United Methodist Hymnal Companion

Author Information

Walter Ehret (b. 1918; d. 2009) was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught instrumental and choral music in New Jersey and New York for over 40 years. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Hofstra University, Manhattanville College, and Teachers College, Columbia University. He retired as Coordinator of Music for the Scarsdale, New York public schools in 1984.
Choirs under Ehret's direction performed in Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, as well as on radio and television. They were invited to sing at New Jersey and New York State School Music Association conventions, divisional meetings of the Music Educators National Conference, and the first American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) national convention. Ehret served as the first ACDA New York state president from 1961-1966.
Walter Ehret was one of the nation's most prolific and respected choral editors and arrangers with over 2000 publications to his credit. In addition, he was co-author of Growing With Music, a basic music series (K-8); co-author of Functional Lessons in Singing, a class voice textbook; and author of the Choral Conductor's Handbook. 
— Shawnee Press (

George K. Evans (b. Clinton, Kentucky, 1917; d. North Hollywood, California, 2003) was educated at Rice University (B.A.), the University of Texas (M.A.), and George Peabody College (Ph.D.). He served as music editor at Prentice-Hall from 1958-1966.
-United Methodist Hymnal Companion, Abingdon Press, 1993, p. 747
— United Methodist Hymnal Companion
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