Daily Devotion 02 September 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

1 Timothy 6: 18-19 ‘Being Rich in Good Deeds’

18 Command them to do good,
to be rich in good deeds,
and to be generous and willing to share.
19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves
as a firm foundation for the coming age,
so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

‘The Church’s One Foundation’
Samuel John Stone (1832-1900)
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.
Called out from every nation,
yet one through all the earth,
her charter of salvation
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
and shares one holy food,
as 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.
In 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 blest,
at last the 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 happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
with them, the meek and lowly,
in heaven your face shall see.

I cannot sing this hymn without forgetting the first time I was introduced to it. It goes back to my school days when I was punished for calling a teacher called Mr. Wiffin, Mr. Whiffbags – in his hearing! My punishment was to learn this hymn off by heart.
This Christian hymn was written in the 1860s by Samuel John Stone, after a schism arose within the Church of South Africa. The Bishop of Natal, John Colenso, had claimed much of the Bible was fiction (the problem is dealt with in verse three with the expression ‘schisms rent asunder’). The hymn describes the Church’s relationship to its foundation being Jesus Christ. The Church is represented as the Christian Fellowship on earth being united by its Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Samuel Stone wrote twelve hymns based on the twelve articles of The Apostles’ Creed. The desire was that these hymns would help people better understand the Creed that they all recited but seldom understood. I am not sure that my understanding of it as a 12-year-old boy was enhanced by learning it as a punishment! However, I have found it an inspirational hymn and trust you will as well!

Prayer:

O Lord, we thank you that you have laid the foundation of our faith in our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
May we always rest in the knowledge that we can come into your presence and bring all our problems.
In the midst of our present difficulties may we always remember the author and finisher of our faith. AMEN.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Derek Scott.
Image of Samuel Stone freely available online.
Image of Christ © Ally Barrett https://reverendally.org.

A printable version of this Daily Devotional can be downloaded from here
All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356