Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day II: Sorrow

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

Today is Reformation day, and so one part of me rejoices in the triumph of the gospel over those human failings that would have hidden and distorted the gospel so many years ago. But another part of me weeps in sorrow over the bitter schisms, which rend our Lord’s most Holy Church. We are all under one calling, one gospel, one Lord, and yet our sinful humanity divides us, we fight, we argue, we even go to war over those things which divide us. Reformation day is a wonderful day to remember the strength of the Word and of the gospel shining throughout time and rising in loud strains upon the criticisms which the reforms made of the Church. Yet one cannot but help to remember all the schisms and the brokenness of the Church today. How the day of victory is one of sorrow?
I pray that one day I may be reunited with my brothers and sisters in Christ under the Word free of all the human sinfulness that so distorts our thoughts and causes us to depart from one another.

The Church’s One Foundation
By Samuel J. Stone

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 over 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.

Through toil and tribulation
And tumult of her war
Se 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.
O blessed heavenly chorus!
Lord, save us by your grace
That we, like saints before us,
May see you face to face.

1 comment:

Rev. Jason P. Peterson said...

The Lutheran Hymnal from 1941 includes two additional verses for The Church's One Foundation which even more clearly reflect the thoughts expressed in your post. They also reflect clearly the hope the church clings to in the face of its divisions. I believe the reason they were omitted from later hymnals is because of their "politically incorrect" language. In my congregation we always sing all six verses of this hymn, which to the best of my knowledge, have never been published together in one hymnal. The verses you have posted are #1,2,5,&6. These are inserted as numbered.

3. 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,
False sons within her pale,
Against both foe and traitor
She ever shall prevail.

4. Though 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.