Second Sunday after Epiphany
|Isaiah 49:1-7||Through Israel all nations are saved||569: We've a Story to Tell
to the Nations
573: O Zion, Haste
|Psalm 40:1-11||The Lord hears His people||61: Come, Thou Almighty
381: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
|John 1:29-42||Christ's authority recognized||189: Fairest Lord
715: Rejoice, the Lord Is King
|1 Corinthians 1:1-9||Christ will keep His people strong||545: The Church's One
683: The Day Is Past and Over
Well, here it is again. The first "ordinary" season of the Christian year--the Sundays after Epiphany. It is easy to find something specific to focus on during Christmas and Epiphany, but I always enjoy the ordinary time. After all, Christ came to ordinary people (us) in an ordinary form (human). He grew up with ordinary people (Mary and Joseph) and probably learned an ordinary trade (carpentry). He called ordinary men (like fishermen) to be his disciples, and ate ordinary food (fish, loaves). But all of these ordinary things become extraordinary because of who Jesus Christ is. He is God. He is Messiah. He is love. He is salvation. He is the head of the church. In Christ, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I like to think that the same happens to this season of the year--this is extraordinary time!
This week's featured hymn was written by Samuel J. Stone (1839-1900). In her series, Stories of The Hymns, Karen Silvis shares this:
In 1866, an influential and liberal Anglican bishop wrote a book which attacked the historic accuracy of the Pentateuch. This caused a widespread controversy throughout the Anglican church. A pastor ministering to the poor of London at the time was deeply disturbed by the debate. He wrote a collection of twelve creedal hymns which were based on the Apostle's Creed. His purpose was to instruct his people in the truth and to combat the liberal attacks on the Bible. The author of these hymns was Samuel J.Stone and Stone knew that the foundation of the church must be the Lordship of Christ and not the views of the people. His hymn, "The Church's One Foundation" was based on the Ninth Article of the creed, which reads, "The Holy Catholic (or Universal) Church; the Communion of Saints; He is the head of this Body."
It was from this cauldron of doctrinal dispute and crisis over a century ago that one of the great hymns of our faith came into being. Stone's faith in the inspiration of Scripture, his refusal to compromise before the Higher Criticism of his day, and his conviction of the Lordship of Christ has given us this stately hymn.
The Apostle's Creed is often recited in worship services, so much so that it becomes quite "ordinary." Samuel Stone found something far more extraordinary in it, though. Here are the words to the hymn.
|1. 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.
|2. 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.
|3. Though with a scornful wonder
we 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.
|4. 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.
Is today ordinary to you, or extraordinary? Look for Christ in it. Nothing will ever look ordinary again.
God bless you--
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|