Recently, Dana and I had a wonderful weekend with my sister and brother-in-law and the rest of our clan reviving an old family Renaissance Festival custom. Afterward, as often happens at my sis and bro’s, the fellowship continued. I’ve had more laughs and more hearty conversations in that house than in most – what a joy! Sunday we attended my kiddos budding church and afterwards… more laughs and hearty conversation at my daughter, Courtney’s, as she had us over for lunch. A blessed weekend.
At church that day, Dana and I were introduced to a new hymn which really grabbed our hearts. It’s a charge to the Church. It’s meaning undoubtedly heightened for us by David Mathis‘ sermon which preceded it. Taken from 1 Timothy 3:14-16, the message was The Church. The Church – a happy family and diverse assembly who are gospel people (sinners saved by Christ’s sacrifice) confessing the mystery of godliness. Mathis concluded by proclaiming two lamps that make Jesus known to the world: Jesus himself in his incarnation and Word AND… the church! At the end of the service, I just wanted to do a big group hug with these other believers (most of whom I did not know) but with whom I feel more commonality, deeper family affection, and greater union of spirit than with some on my physical family tree.
The Church – Thank you, Lord Jesus, for binding me to your family!
O Church, arise, and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our Captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
An army bold, whose battle-cry is Love,
Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died,
An inheritance of nations.
Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come put strength in every stride,
Give grace for every hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory.
Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2004 Thankyou Music
See more at: http://www.stuarttownend.co.uk/song/o-church-arise/#sthash.EDcnn6lu.dpuf