When we arrived here at North River Community Church in February, we noticed the church sign facing the road indicated that there was a Wednesday evening prayer/study service. It had been suspended for a period of time, and we prayerfully planned to restart it in the fall. Fall came, and on September 19th, we began meeting on Wednesdays to do just what the sign says – we pray together, and we study God’s Word together. What a joy to see the lights on at the church building at night!
For our study, we are working our way through the 2nd London Baptist Confession. (Chapel Library is one of the many places you can find a PDF version of the confession.) Adopted in 1689, it is a thorough and succinct summary of doctrine. We’re using this as a basis to anchor ourselves well in orthodox doctrine. We spent a couple of weeks going through the first chapter “Of the Holy Scriptures” and just this past Wednesday we completed the first week of the second chapter “Of God and the Holy Trinity.”
One of the secondary goals of our prayer and study (the primary being, well, prayer and study) is to worship together through singing.We have begun practicing a “hymn of the month” approach. All that means is that every Wednesday night of the month, though some songs will be different each week, there will be one song that is the same every week. I swiped this idea from others (and I really do wish I could remember who it was I swiped it from first so I can give proper credit). For the month of October, that song has been “How Firm a Foundation.” I have no intention of going through the history of that song here – that’s why there is Google, so you can do it yourself. Rather, I’ll share the application of that song in our context, for which there are two:
1. We began by studying the Holy Scriptures and God. There are many songs that capture those two weighty matters, but this one jumped out at us most. This song reminds us that our foundation is indeed rooted in the Scriptures and in God’s revelation of Himself to us through His Word and through His Son. This song made for a natural transition from one topic to the next, while keeping the same train of thought.
2. I need the reminder this song promotes. I tweeted something snarky about the election not too long ago (about 3 hours ago at the time of this writing), and nearly immediately, “How Firm a Foundation” began playing in the soundtrack of my mind. It prompted me to consider Who my foundation is, where my foundation is, Who will carry me through trials, where my focus should be, Who is the subject of my attention, where is my confidence found.
At North River Community Church, we have been blessed to hear this song in a few different ways: with piano only, with 2 ukeleles, and with one guitar and one ukelele. Each time it is a delight. The voices singing this song out loud is as one resounding proclamation that our foundation and security is found in God and His Word. It is an even greater blessing to hear an informal choir of young children belting out this song as they learn to rest on God’s promises.
I found the album “How Sweet the Sound: Remembering Great Hymns of the Faith” on Covenant Life Church’s website, and was elated that there was a free download of the album (though donations are suggested and welcome). I enjoyed their version of this great hymn – this version sounds very North River-y to me. To get the album, go here.