Reflections and Blog

Songs Celebrating Church Unity

On Sunday, we looked at Psalm 133, a psalm that encourages us to seek and celebrate the united gathering of God’s people as the place of blessing. Considering, though, that Psalm 133 is a model prayer-song, we might ask whether Christians have indeed followed the psalm’s model and made more music that praises God for church unity. God’s people have indeed done so! For today’s meditation, then, I’d like to present you with three Christian hymns in the same vein as Psalm 133.

Oh, How Good It Is, by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Russ Holmes and Stuart Townend, 2014
(YouTube, see Stuart Townend’s explanation here).

1 Oh how good it is when the family of God
Dwell together in spirit, in faith and unity;
Where the bonds of peace, of acceptance and love
Are the fruits of his presence here among us.

Chorus: So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord,
And with one heart we’ll live out his word
Til the whole world sees the Redeemer has come,
For he dwells in the presence of his people.

2 Oh how good it is on this journey we share
To rejoice with the happy and weep with those who mourn.
For the weak find strength, the afflicted find grace,
When we offer the blessing of belonging.

3 Oh how good it is to embrace his command
To prefer one another, forgive as he forgives.
When we live as one we all share in the love
Of the Son with the Father and the Spirit.

Blessed Be the Tie that Binds, By John Fawcett, 1782
(YouTube example)

1 Blessed be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like that to that above.

2 Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one
Our comforts and our cares.

3 We share each other’s woes,
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

4 When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

5 This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way;
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

6 From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free,
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord, by Timothy Dwight, 1800
(YouTube example)

1 I love thy kingdom, Lord,
the house of thine abode,
the church our blest Redeemer saved
with his own precious blood.

2 I love thy church, O God:
her walls before thee stand,
dear as the apple of thine eye
and graven on thy hand.

3 For her my tears shall fall,
for her my prayers ascend;
to her my cares and toils be giv’n,
’til toils and cares shall end.

4 Beyond my highest joy
I prize her heav’nly ways,
her sweet communion, solemn vows,
her hymns of love and praise.

5 Jesus, thou Friend divine,
our Savior and our King,
thy hand from ev’ry snare and foe
shall great deliv’rance bring.

6 Sure as thy truth shall last,
to Zion shall be giv’n
the brightest glories earth can yield,
and brighter bliss of heav’n.

Questions to Consider:
1. Why is singing together about unity in Christ particularly appropriate?
2. Do you cherish the church the way that Christ and his people in the Bible do? If not, why not?
3. How can you contribute to your church’s unity in Christ so that the unity is even more worth celebrating?