Friday, August 3, 2012

The Church's One Foundation

Here is Hymn #7!

Title: The Church's One Foundation

Tune: Aurelia

Numeric Outline: 76.76 (Doubled)

Author: Samuel J. Stone

Composer: Samuel S. Wesley

     This hymn is well known for calling the church to be a community. The basis of the text is from the bible when Christ tells Peter that the church will be built off of the rock that is himself. Written by Samuel J. Stone in 1866, "The Church's One Foundation," was one of the most famous of hymns written by Stone. Born in 1839 in Whitmore, Staffordshire, England, Stone was the son of Reverend William Stone. As Samuel became older, he eventually attended Charter School and Oxford College where he was ordained in 1862. Immediately after he was ordained he began serving orders at various different churches until 1870., when he joined his father in his ministries at St Paul's in Haggerston, England. Four short years later, Samuel J. Stone followed in his fathers footsteps and took over for his father as Vicar at St. Paul's. S. Stone served as Vicar in Haggerston until 1890, and from then until his death in 1900, he served at All-Hallow-on-the-Wall in London turning it into a safe haven for working girls and women in England. This hymn came at a very important time in the history of the church, a time where there was a great dispute of how the church should work.
     John W. Colenso, Anglican Bishop of Natal, South Africa had written a book expressing his thoughts on the different ways that the current church was parting away from what was written in the scriptures. Samuel J. Stone was so set in his ways that he had actually wrote many of his hymns trying to dispute this belief by using the 12 articles of the Apostles' Creed. In his publication, Lyra Fidelium; 12 hymns on the 12 articles of the Apostles' Creed (1866) Stone used the article "The holy catholic church, the communion of saints," as his inspiration for this "The Church's One Foundation." In doing so, Stone had used this article to say that the catholic church (the lower case c is used to represent the church as a universal entity instead of the actual Catholic Church) was in fact the universal church of Christ. This is the church that Christ said would be built upon the rock of Peter. The text of the hymn shows the importance of the church being based wholly off of Christ and being baptized by the water. Stone used almost a direct reference to the Colenso controversy in stanza three of the hymn "Though there be those that hate her, and false sons within her pale, against or foe or traitor she shall ever prevail." This is representative of the controversy by almost calling Colenso a traitor to the ways of the Orthodox Christians.
     The tune "Aurelia," meaning "gold," was originally written as a setting to "Jerusalem the Golden," has often been considered to be "Secular Twaddle." Written in 1864 and finally published in the Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1868, the tune has come to be known almost solely with "The Church's One Foundation."

The Text:

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.

5. 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.

(This text is different than the one I was using to write the information, but this is the most widely accepted version)

The Hymn:

My Take on the Hymn:
     I believe that this hymn exists to show us that the church is not just a building, but is a living and breathing community in which Christ is the center for each and every person. The church has a goal, and that is to spread the word to everyone who will listen, and even to those who will not, and to do so we must leave the walls that enclose what we would call our "Church." Christ calls us as Christians to go out in our ministries and to become the word, though this is a life long struggle, we are promised at the end we will find rest for our souls and for our church!

No comments:

Post a Comment