One day, a few years ago, I sat down to write a blog post. I really wanted to post something, anything. I asked the Lord what He wanted to say, my head in my hands. Then I looked up, saw an old hymnal, and pulled it down from the shelf. I randomly opened it, and it fell to the following hymn:
1. The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation By water and the Word:
From heav’n He came and sought her To be His holy bride; With
His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.
2. Elect from ev’ry nation, Yet one o’er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation One Lord, one faith, on birth;
One holy name she blesses, Partakes one holy food, And
to one hope she presses, With ev’ry grace endued.
3. ‘Mid toil and tribulation And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore;
Till with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest, And
the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.
4. Yet she on earth hath union With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy! Lord, give us grace that we, Like
them, the meek and lowly, On high may dwell with Thee. Amen.
Always, ALWAYS, God points to His Son; He’s obsessed with the Son!
It begins with a solid reminder (pun intended): the Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. The Church isn’t built upon principles, theology, or doctrine, but on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This puts 2 Corinthians 5:17 in a corporate view: She (the Church) is His new creation by water and the Word. Water being the symbol of our death and resurrection to new life through baptism, and the Word being Jesus Christ, the Word of God. As we are in Him, we are transformed by the renewing of our mind, as He gains more ground in us. And, of course, He came from within the divine fellowship to seek out His holy bride, and He bought her with His own blood, and died to give her His life. What a beautiful and compelling reality in which we live.
We are then reminded that though the Church is made up of people from every nation, it is still one Church. Her whole makeup is of unity and oneness: One Lord, one faith, one birth. She blesses one holy name, the name of Jesus; partakes of one holy food, again, Christ, and presses into one hope, the hope that is yet again Jesus Christ her Lord. He is the Church’s one foundation.
Next, is a picture of rest among toil and tribulation and tumult of war. The Church waits the consummation of peace forevermore, and being in Christ, the Prince of Peace, she has it. I love the last line of this verse: “And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.” Oh, if the Church would learn to rest in the Lord! Then she is victorious! Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary…and I will give you rest.” For His rest is the key to the Church’s perseverance. Again, He is the Church’s one foundation.
Finally, the Church, though on earth, is one, has union, with the Godhead, the Three in One. She is in Christ! And the Church isn’t just the ones still living on the earth; she is also made up of saints both past and future. This is one very large woman, mind you. And that’s a good thing. But I digress. With those that have gone before us, we have a mystic sweet communion, and I dare say we have that same communion with those that will come after us, too. And as with those who have gone before, inside this time that we live, we still dwell with Jesus Christ, because He has placed us inside of Him. He dwells in us, His Church, and we dwell in Him. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you.”
Truly, this is a song about the Church’s one foundation: Jesus Christ. Good title. Good hymn. I encourage you to go back and reread the words to the hymn and allow God to speak to you. Seek the heart of the Father, and there you will find the Son. Always.
*Words: Samuel J. Stone, Lyra Fidelium; Twelve Hymns of the Twelve Articles of the Apostle’s Creed(London: Messrs. Parker and Co., 1866).
Music: Aurelia, Samuel S. Wesley, in a Selection of Psalms and Hymns, by C. Kemble, 1864