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.
She is 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.
‘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.
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
Words by Samuel J. Stone, 1866
Music by Samuel S. Wesley, 1864
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:4 – 6
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Have you ever helped build a structure. No matter how small the structure, one of the things that is needed is a good foundation. I helped build a pergola, which is simply corner post and cross slats on the top. Still, we were required to lay four foot deep concrete footings. Why? Because the strength of the building is dependent on a solid foundation.
A church building is no different, and just as the church building needs a solid foundation, so the Church, the body of believers, needs a solid foundation. In his song, “The Churches One Foundation” Samuel Stone tells us what that foundations is. He writes, “The Churches one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.” This image comes straight from the Bible in Ephesians 2:20 where we are told that “Christ Jesus himself (is) the chief cornerstone.”
But as I continue through this hymn, it is the second verse that we too often forget. Our foundation is Christ, but the Church reaches far beyond my local congregation. Stone writes, “She is from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth.” harkening us back to the words of Revelation 7:9, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Too often we fail to see beyond the walls of our local church. We forget that the church is far beyond this.
He goes on to write, “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.” Going past the building walls, going past the denominational walls, the body of Christ is one. I am drawn to Ephesians 4:4 – 6 where Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Too often we let our difference divide us, forgetting what we have in common. There is indeed, “One Lord, one faith and one hope.” All of this growing from our one foundation, Jesus Christ in whom and with whom we are unified into one body.
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