Jesus as Our Foundation


I’m including a lot of lyrics in this post, so I will mostly let the words speak for themselves. First a bit of background…

Jesus as the Foundation of the Church

In the mid-nineteenth century, a controversy started, challenging the historicity and authority of much of the Old Testament. According to Hymnary.org, “Bishop Gray of Capetown wrote a stirring response of defense, which, in 1866, inspired Samuel Stone, to write this beloved hymn.”

As you sing this hymn, think of Christians throughout the ages and around the world. All believers throughout all time are part of the same body, the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith.

To further strengthen the connection with our brothers and sisters in Christ, consider singing the Chinese version of the text, O Christ the Great Foundation. These lyrics focus more on persecution than on schisms and would be appropriate to sing on the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (the first Sunday in November).

If you’re a worship leader, also consider using this hymn as a part of communion when we celebrate our unity through the body and blood of Christ.

The Church’s One Foundation and O Christ, the Great Foundation

For today’s video, I chose Brian Moss’ rendition for Indelible Grace (a video of the familiar tune is in the NOTES). Sometimes a different melody helps me focus on the words more. After listening to The Church’s One Foundation, why not continue singing with the lyrics of O Christ, the Great Foundation.

 

Lyrics of The Church’s One Foundation (from Hymnary.org)

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.

Elect from ev’ry nation,
yet one o’er all the earth,
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy Name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with ev’ry grace endued.

Tho’ with a scornful wonder,
men see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping,
their cry goes up, “How long?”
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord, to defend,
to guide, sustain, and cherish,
is with her to the end;
tho’ there be those that hate her
and false sons in her pale,
against the foe or traitor
she ever shall prevail.

‘Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

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.

Lyrics of O Christ, the Great Foundation (from Jubilate)

O Christ the great foundation
on which your people stand
to preach your true salvation
in every age and land:
pour out your Holy Spirit
to make us strong and pure,
to keep the faith unbroken
as long as worlds endure.

Baptized in one confession,
one church in all the earth,
we bear our Lord’s impression,
the sign of second birth:
one fellowship united
in love beyond our own
by grace we were invited,
by grace we make you known.

Where tyrants’ hold is tightened,
where strong devour the weak,
where innocents are frightened
and righteous fear to speak,
there let your church awaking
attack the powers of sin
and, all their ramparts breaking,
with you the victory win.

The gates of hell are yielding,
the hordes of Satan fly,
for Christ the Lord is wielding
the sword of victory:
This is the moment glorious
when he who once was dead
shall lead his church victorious,
their champion and their head.

He comes with acclamation
to claim his holy bride;
she stands in exultation,
the Bridegroom at her side:
the Lord of all creation
his Father’s kingdom brings
the final consummation,
the glory of all things.

Knowing God through Hymns

Starting in 2017, join me once per month in praising God for who He is. For this series, I’m using each of the hymns at the ends of all the 57 chapters of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Want  to find more hymns from this Sunday hymn series? Click the hymn tag.

NOTES:

Additional Scripture references for O Christ, the Great Foundation by Hymnary.org:

NOTES:

    • Timothy T’ing Fang Lew (1891 – 1947) wrote the lyrics for O Christ the Great Foundation. According to Hymnary.org: Lew was a leading Chinese educator, author, and editor. He was educated in China and at Columbia University in New York City (M.A.; Ph.D.). His Bachelor of Divinity degree was from Yale and he studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York City,… and received an S.T.D. degree from Oberlin College. In 1932, Lew began to chair the commission to prepare a Chinese Union hymnal. The resulting Hymns of Universal Praise was published in 1936.”
    • The photo of Bahar Dar Church in Ethiopia is available on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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