The Very Stones Would Sing

In the weeks following the US invasion of Iraq, I composed a hymn for Palm Sunday based upon the Lukan text, in which Jesus claims that if the disciples were silent in their praise, then the very stones would be forced to cry out. In 2003, I found this text to be quite appropriate as I knew it to be a time when those of us who dared to speak out (against our government, the war, et al) were being told to shut up by the communities around us. In Luke's text, I heard the reminder that truth always has a way of being heard, despite my reluctance or my fear to speak out.

I am grateful to my gracious friend Rev. Ann Bell Worley for her role in helping to edit this hymn to get it just right.

The Very Stones Would Sing
Luke 19:29-40, Palm Sunday C

Here, we wave our palms in honor, Here, we lay our garments down,
As you enter in your glory, And as we demand your crown.
We shout psalms of adoration, Crying “Blessed is the king!”
And you say that if we’re silent Then the very stones would sing!

We have waited for your coming. We have cried out for release.
You’re the King whom we have longed for; You’re the One, the Prince of Peace.
So we wonder at your summons To be the peace you bring.
In reluctance, we are silent, So the very stones must sing.

We are frightened, thus unfaithful, When we’re silenced by the world.
We betray you; we deny you Lest their anger be unfurled.
We are scared, Lord, to speak boldly; To security we cling.
In our panic, we are silent, So the very stones must sing.

Lord, how quickly our “Hosannas” Turn to cries of “Crucify!”
When the justice that you call for Requires of us our lives.
We don’t want a God of mercy; We demand a conquering king.
In our anger, we are silent, So the very stones must sing.

O God, help us to stand steadfast. Help us witness to your peace.
Help us to reclaim our voices That our praise may never cease.
Lead us forward on the journey; Bells of justice let us ring.
Underfoot, may stones be silent; Let us be the ones who sing!

Copyright © 2003 by Rachel Frey. All rights reserved.


  1. We're going to do a service of lessons and hymns on Palm Sunday and I'm going to use will be on the screen with your name attached to it...thank you for these words!

  2. Using this hymn in Palm/Passion worship service this Sunday 3/29/15 in Maryland, USA. Thank you for such moving words.
    -Jon Brewer, Severna Park United Methodist Church

  3. I found this hymn as I was searching for hymns that would fit the Lukan Palm Sunday text. The hymn captures so well the turn from Palm Sunday to Holy Week. We will be using this hymn in worship on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at Peace Lutheran Church in Burlington, ND. Thanks for your good work.
    Rev. Emily Nesdahl

  4. We will be using this as our closing hymn to the tune of ELW 712. Thank you so much and God's blessings to you.

  5. Just discovering this hymn now and plan to use it next Palm/Passion Sunday. Thanks!!

  6. Thank you for this excellent hymn. I plan to use it as our Sequence Hymn for Palm/Passion Sunday 2021.