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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Convenient Truth: Day 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.
“The Church’s One Foundation”  Stone/Wesley

From as far back as I can remember, even back to childhood, this has been a favorite hymn of mine (Children can be such surprising and odd creatures, can’t they?) It isn’t one of the ones you hear a lot--not like “Amazing Grace” or “It is Well With my Soul.” But it shows up on the average church bulletin about once a year on the appropriate Sunday as a complement to the relevant message.

A few week’s ago was one of those Sundays at our church, and I sang all five verses with great gusto. (Ask anyone around me.) But as I was singing, I realized that its words, written a century and a half ago, were speaking truth that was hitting the bulls-eye of where we are in the world and in the church.

Most everybody who will read this blog is, to some degree, a product of 20th century American culture - a time of unique prosperity and peace. In this 21st century of ours, new definitions (that have been nibbling around the edges of our culture in the last few decades) of right and wrong, good and evil have come center stage, challenging much of what many of us were taught was “right.” This isn’t new; the world stage has always been a place of competing ideas where often - in the short run anyway - the best man hasn’t won.

To be a Christian these days is to be called to one of those competitions, one of those battles. And to be a Christian these days, can be either incredibly difficult or incredibly burden-free. Now burden-free is not the same as easy, but the truth is our identity, purpose and future has already been decided. To understand ourselves any differently is not to be salt and light in a seriously confused world, but to be a contributor to the chaos.

Everyone’s character is shaped by some definition of the truth. Everyone’s actions are, consciously or unconsciously, the out-working of what we believe about ourselves and the world around us. This week we will try to understand, thanks to an old hymn written in a time that so like the one we face today - who we are.

Nancy Shirah

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