A Hymn for Meditation

The Church’s One Foundation

  1. The church’s one foundation
    is Jesus Christ her Lord;
    she is his new creation
    by water and the Word.
    From heaven 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 every nation,
    y
    et 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 every grace endued. 
  3. Though with a scornful wonder
    we 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.

Samuel J. Stone

 

  • What does the image of the church as a bride teach you about the relationship between the church and Christ? What is your relationship to Christ’s church? 
  • The second verse uses the word “one” seven times. What is the “one” that is “o’er all the earth?” What is the “one holy food?” How does the repetition of themes around the word “one” build your understanding of the meaning of membership in the church?
  • In what ways do schisms and heresies afflict the church? Where did the hymnwriter get his image of the people who cry out, “How long?” What encouragement does this hymn offer when you feel discouraged by all the divisions?
  • What words does the hymnwriter use to describe the experience of being under assault for our faith? The hymnwriter looks forward to a time when the “victorious church” will be at rest. When will that happen?
  • Where does the hymnwriter find encouragement and strength in this life  to endure assaults on faith?
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