"The Church's one foundation, Is Jesus Christ, her Lord; She is His new creation, By water and the Word. From heav'n He came and sought her, To be His holy bride. With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.
"Though with a scornful wonder, The world sees her 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 our world today some people have a very low opinion of the church. The fallen world views the bride of Christ with "scornful wonder." They watch—sometimes with spiteful pleasure—as scandals and false teaching weaken and divide the church. Various surveys report that non-Christians view Christians as hypocritical and judgmental.
Those of us who are members of Christ's body, the church, recognize within ourselves many of the same problems that the world sees; we are all too aware of our sins and failures. It is distressing to realize how poorly we reflect the love of Jesus to the people we meet each day. Yet with repentant hearts we also see by faith what an unbelieving world cannot see.
We see ourselves as Holy Scripture describes us, as our Lord sees us—redeemed and forgiven—each of us a new creation through the water and Word of Baptism. Called and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we are the church—one holy, Christian people, the communion of saints. Jesus came and sought us "to be His holy bride." He offered up His life as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and purchased us "not with perishable things such as silver or gold," but with His blood shed on the cross (see 1 Peter 1:18-19). We are loved and precious to our Lord, clothed in His righteousness and holy in His sight, bearing a beauty the fallen world cannot see.
For now, the church will struggle and suffer, enduring scorn and ridicule and, in many places around the globe, suffering the active persecution of a world that hates Jesus' holy bride as it once hated her Bridegroom. We are distressed by the heresies and sin that tear apart various church bodies and threaten the earthly fellowship of the people of God.
We struggle too, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to reflect the love of Christ to the world, to be faithful witnesses for our Bridegroom. We want the world to see the peace and living hope we know in Christ. Sharing the good news of salvation, we pray that others will come to know and worship Jesus as Lord. Built on the firm foundation that is Christ Jesus, we look ahead to His return, when the "night of weeping" will become "the morn of song," that bright day when Jesus' holy bride will rejoice forever in the presence of her Bridegroom.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have bought us with Your holy, precious blood and clothed us in Your righteousness. Help us by the power of the Spirit to reflect Your love to the world and live as faithful witnesses for You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "The Church's One Foundation," which is found on page 644 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Do you think believers in general see Jesus as the church's one foundation, or are there other things that seem to be more important?
2. With everything that impacts the church these days (bad press, scandal, wild theologies, etc.), what will keep the church strong and Christ focused?
3. Do you personally have a plan of action to keep your faith centered on Jesus? How so?
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