Tag Archives: Church

All the world seems a church…

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–by John Muir, excerpted from My First Summer in the Sierra

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Lenten Reflection – Day 27

In the last few weeks, there have been news stories about churches who are trying to lure people into their fold by offering guns to those who attend retreats or worship services. When I first heard of this, I was shocked. It is utterly shocking at how blatantly against the example of Jesus such a gesture is. Jesus embodied non-violence. Jesus embodied turning the other cheek…it got him killed. Jesus embodied peace. The fact that a church would turn the goal of increasing membership, or in their eyes “winning souls for Christ,” no doubt, turns the message of Christ upside down and spits in the face of the example of Christ’s life.

I am a Christian who believes that a life of humility, service, and sacrifice is what God calls us to in Jesus Christ. Not a life of superiority, aggression, and paranoia. That is what these churches are perpetuating…a life of “shut your mouth and defend yourself” instead of a life of “turn the other cheek, listen, and speak.”

May the God of love in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit guide us into all truth. Lord, have mercy!

Here is one such article about this on Sojourners.net.

“The Deserter” by Boardman Robinson (1916)

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The Church’s One Foundation

As my church’s triennial convention comes to a close today in Indianapolis, I’m reminded by the words of this famous hymn about the fact that Christ is our sure foundation and we have “one Lord, one faith, one birth” in Christ. Though we may not always agree liturgically, canonically, biblically, or otherwise, it is the liberating message of Christ’s Gospel which binds us together and leads us forward in unity of love for Christ and our neighbor. We are truly blessed. Thanks be to God!

(the italicized stanza is not sung in this version)

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.

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.

Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blessed,
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: Samuel John Stone, 1868
Tune: Aurelia by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

–From the album The World of Favourite Hymns, sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

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Holy Spirit, Ever Living

Holy Spirit, ever living
As the Church’s very life;
Holy Spirit, ever striving
Through her in a ceaseless strife;
Holy Spirit, ever forming
In the Church the mind of Christ;
Thee we praise with endless worship
For thy fruits and gifts unpriced.

Holy Spirit, ever working
Through the Church’s ministry;
Quick’ning, strength’ning, and absolving,
Setting captive sinners free;
Holy Spirit, ever binding
Age to age and soul to soul
In a fellowship unending,
Thee we worship and extol.

Words: Timothy Rees (1837-1939)
Tune: Abbot’s Leigh, by Cyril V. Taylor (b. 1907)

–From the album Hymns Through the Ages, sung by the Beverly Hills All Saints’ Episcopal Church Choir

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