The text dates to the seventh century, written originally in Latin, the lingua franca of the western Christianity for centuries. But I stumbled across it recently in our archives, a place in which I have spent an inordinate and unnatural amount of time over this last year in preparation for our 150th anniversary celebrations. You can see it in the photo here. It’s a copy of the worship bulletin from January 7, 1923.
BMPC was commemorating its 50th anniversary as a congregation that year, and a who’s who of the wider church had come to be a part, including the Rev. Dr. Lewis Mudge, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly; the Rev. Dr. John B. Rendall, President of Lincoln University; and the Rev. Dr. Henry B. Master, Secretary of the Board of Ministerial Relief.
But what is striking is not the guest list, impressive as it is. It is the opening hymn the congregation sang, “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.” We will sing that hymn this Sunday as well, as we continue in our season of anniversary celebration and dedicate our stewardship pledges for 2024.
It seems we have been singing that hymn for quite some time. It leads one to wonder why. What is it about declaring “To this temple, where we call you, come, O Lord of hosts, and stay” that makes us want to sing it in seasons of celebration and reflection? Even as other hymns wax and wane in popularity, some having staying power. The power to cause us to reflect, remember, and rejoice. The power to bless us for future endeavors. The power to pray with boldness, “Hear your people as we pray, and your fullest benediction shed within these walls today.”
One hundred years after singing it at one anniversary, we will sing these ancient words again this Dedication Sunday, October 22, as we continue to celebrate another anniversary. We invite you to prayerfully consider how the sure foundation we have in Christ allows you to share in your abundance. This Sunday we make financial promises to support the church for the work ahead, and we would love for you to take part. Please bring your pledge card as a tangible act of offering as we commit to using these gifts in ways that glorify God and serve our neighbors.