At the church which I pastor in the UK, we have been working our way through 1 Peter. What has repeatedly hit us is just how crucial it is, as God’s redeemed people, to know who we are, remember who we are, and consistently be who we are in the world. Life as strangers and exiles in the world is hard. Unless we know our value to Christ (redeemed by his precious blood), our identity in Christ (a chosen people), our calling from Christ (a holy priesthood, declaring his praises), and our certain hope in Christ (a resurrection-secured inheritance that can never perish spoil of fade), we will simply fail to stand fast in the true grace of God (1 Peter 5:12).
This is why it’s great for the church to sing about being the church: we need constantly to remind ourselves who we are, together, in Christ. As we sing, “Here we stand, the church of the redeemed!”, we look around at the people God has called us to belong to, and a joyful thought rises in our hearts: “This is us! The church of the redeemed! Never mind the trainwreck of the week I’ve just had, this is the people to whom I belong, my true life, my divine calling and my eternal born-again self.” Who doesn’t need to remind themselves of that by the time Sunday comes around?!
When we forget who we are in Christ, we also forget who Christ is for us. Just think about that. When I believe the enemy’s lie that I have no value, the deeper lie I am believing is that Christ does not value me. When I believe the enemy’s lie that my hope is not certain, the deeper lie I am believing is that Christ cannot deliver this certain hope. Which means that celebrating in song who we are in Christ, cannot help but also celebrate who Christ is for us. Or to put it another way, when we sing about the church, we are never just singing about ourselves, we are always singing about Christ! The church should sing about the church because in so doing we glorify and honour the Saviour who loves, redeems, purifies and glorifies his precious people, the church.
So it’s my prayer that our new song ‘Here we stand”, will strengthen you and your church to know, remember and consistently be the people Christ has redeemed us to be so that all the glory might go to Him.
Sam Brewster studied music and theology at university, and is currently the minister of Trinity at Four, Henley, which he has led since its inception in 2018. He’s been writing song/hymn lyrics for a number of years, and continues to do so now for Joyful Noise.