Do you have favorite hymns? Jonnie Sue and I do. One that we share is “The Church’s one foundation,” number 525 in “The Hymnal, 1982.” I’m always moved when I have an opportunity to sing it, as was the case this past Sunday when it was the recessional hymn. The imagry in its five exquisitely phrased verses rather perfectly and suscinctly expresses the origin, meaning, mission, and aspiration of the church. Each phrase of each verse could serve as a basis for a meditation.
The reason that it is particularly moving to me is that it has become our family funeral hymn, sung at the funerals of all four of our parents and my brother. It is the last verse that makes my eyes damp when I get to “mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won” and the concluding prayer that we too may have grace to dwell on high with them.
Thank you, Samuel Stone, for composing these words and thank you too, Samuel Wesley,for setting them to such memorable music. Truly it is a big part of the music of my life.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Washignton DC, 10-May-2016.