O Church of Christ, Invincible
The latest release from The Gospel Coalition is titled "When Trials Come: Resurrection Songs for a World of Suffering" and is available for free on Bandcamp. The album features artists such as Sandra McCracken, Shane & Shane, Keith & Kristyn Getty, Sovereign Grace Music, The Village Church, among others. It is filled with new hymns to help carry people through trial and suffering.
One of the areas we must continue to grow in as church leaders is giving people vocabulary to express confession of sin, the emotional tides of suffering, and even death. The gospel is wide enough for all of our questions, and strong enough to hold us through each storm.
I was pleased to lend "O Church of Christ, Invincible" to this project. Stuart Townend and I wrote this hymn as we sought language to help people remember the unchanging nature of God's covenant through the trials and persecution of the church.
The hymn begins by grounding us in our identity as the people of God. It recalls the work of the Holy Spirit, the word of God, his grace, and his help in our lives.
O Church of Christ invincible, The people of the Lord;
Empowered by the Spirit’s breath, And nourished by His word.
His covenant of grace will be Our portion evermore;
For he who called us will not change, Our help and our reward.
Verse 2 calls us to remember that we stand in the line of the people of God as the chldren of Abraham. Because of this we walk by faith in things we have not yet seen and have built our lives on the promises of God. It is from this place that we are able to speak the restorative power of the gospel to the nations.
O chosen people called by grace,
The sons of Abraham;
Who walk by faith in things unseen, And on His promise stand,
That every nation of the earth, Will hear of boundless love.
That causes broken hearts to heal, And pays our debts with blood.
With this in view, verse 3 changes tone and shows that while we are the people of God, it does not mean that we will not experience sorrow, evil, persecution, and the forces of Satan. However, it does offer that while we will not escape these realities, we do have an anchor in them.
O Church of Christ in sorrow now,
Where evil lies in wait,
When trials and persecutions come, This light will never fade.
For though the hordes of hell may rage, Their power will not endure;
Our times are in the Father's hand, Our anchor is secure.
And finally in Verse 4 we turn our attention to the hope that ours in the face of death.
O Church of Christ upon that day,
When all are gathered in,
When every tear is wiped away With every trace of sin;
Where justice, truth and beauty shine, And death has passed away;
Where God and man will dwell as one, For all eternity!
I hope this and all of the new hymns on the project will help give you language in the trials you face, and remind you that you are not alone, that peace can be steadfast in Christ, and that he has overcome the world. (John 16:33)