The result was that I had a go at writing a hymn myself! The starting point was the opening line of an obscure hymn by a Victorian high Anglican clergyman, E L Drown. This line, and several others which struck me as beautiful, I kept. Drown, however, goes on to sketch the beauties of church furnishings, liturgy and offices. I wanted rather to place Church within the wider 'kingdom' plan of God for a testimony to, and blessing for, the earth.
Beautiful Church of Christ below,
Radiant in this world of woe;
Welcoming gate to Heaven above,
Sanctified house of God I love.
He who was slain on Calvary
Founded this Church eternally.
Harried and tried by Satan’s horde;
Hated by men who hate her Lord;
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Seeing in faith His glorious throne;
Bearing His cross she walks His road,
Finding His grace to bear the load.
Temple of Jesus, called the Way,
His human face she dares display:
Grieving at imperfections shown,
Making her intercessions known;
Bearing with brethren, loving all,
She manifests the Kingdom call.
Beautiful hearts this Church adorn,
Giving their lives for God’s Firstborn.
Salvation’s Ark she opens wide,
Beckoning all to come inside;
Bringing new sons to second birth,
She is a praise in all the earth.
Church, the abode and rest of God;
The path that saints and martyrs trod.
Baptism her ensign, Christ her light;
Souls here made glorious, robed in white.
Fitly adorned as Christ’s own Bride,
She reigns for ever at His side!
© Jesus Fellowship Songs / CopyCare Ltd, 2009,
adapted from E. L. Drown, 1863, Public Domain