Tag Archives: The Church’s One Foundation

A Hymn for Meditation

hymnalThe Church’s One Foundation

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

Elect from every 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 every grace endued.

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.

Text by Samuel J. Stone, 1839-190
Text in the Public Domain
From http://www.hymnsite.com/lyrics/umh545.sht

  •  According to this hymn, what is the single most important truth about the church? Any church? All churches?
  • What event is recognized by the words, “with his own blood he bought her?” Whose blood bought the church?
  • What is the important sacrament remembered in the words, “new creation by water and the word?” What is so important about this act? What is the role of the water? The word? Whose word is it?
  • Why are members of Christ’s church considered to be “the elect?”
  • What sacrament is recalled by the words, “On holy food?” Why is this food so important?
  • How does this hymn make a distinction between the faith experience in Christ’s church and a faith experience anywhere else? How does this hymn respond to someone who says, “I’m spiritual but not religious?”
  • The hymn says that Christians have union and communion. What is the difference?
  • What is the hope that Christ’s church looks toward?
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A Hymn for Meditation

The Church’s One Foundation hymnal

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.

Through 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.

Yet she on earth has union
with God, the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
Oh, blessed heavenly chorus!
Lord save us by your grace,
that we, like saints before us,
may see you face to face.

  • Why is it important to know that the church is built on Christ alone?
  • Where does the Bible teach that the church is the bride of Christ? (Hint, Revelation 21 is only the last place. Where else in the Bible do we find this image? Hint, Song of Solomon is a great place to look for God’s model for marriage, the relationship between a man and a woman, as a picture of his relationship with his people. Hint, the book of Hosea is a poignant cry from God to his people, his chosen nation, which has cuckolded him with idol worship and a profane lifestyle. Where else?
  • The image of “peace forevermore” is appealing. When will it happen?
  • What elements of the Creed are recalled by verse 3?
  • In what ways does this hymn encourage you as you face daily challenges or even threats to your faith?

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?