Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand

Ten thousand times ten thousand, in sparkling raiment bright,
The armies of the ransomed saints throng up the steeps of light;
’Tis finished, all is finished, their fight with death and sin;
Fling open wide the golden gates, and let the victors in.

What rush of alleluias fills all the earth and sky!
What ringing of a thousand harps bespeaks the triumph nigh!
O day, for which creation and all its tribes were made;
O joy, for all its former woes a thousandfold repaid!

O then what raptured greetings on Canaan’s happy shore;
What knitting severed friendships up, where partings are no more!
Then eyes with joy shall sparkle, that brimmed with tears of late;
Orphans no longer fatherless, nor widows desolate.

Bring near Thy great salvation, Thou Lamb for sinners slain;
Fill up the roll of Thine elect, then take Thy power, and reign;
Appear, Desire of nations, Thine exiles long for home;
Show in the heaven Thy promised sign; Thou Prince and Savior, come.


This is some serious stuff from my home state. God help them!


From the vestry and leaders of Grace Church

WHEREAS, four centuries ago our spiritual forbears brought to this continent the Christian faith as expressed in the Anglican tradition, led by the Rev. Robert Hunt, the first Anglican mission in America celebrated Holy Communion on the Third Sunday after Trinity upon the banks of the James River shortly after the landing of the Virginia Colony in 1607 A.D. So began our unbroken religious heritage in the New World.

WHEREAS, the Church of England in America was our foundation, nurse, and protector for many generations, its greatest gifts to our faith were an unrivaled English translation of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. In the course of Divine Providence when our country became politically independent of Great Britain, the American Church became ecclesiastically independent of the Church of England. So began the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

WHEREAS, in continuity with the faith received from the Church of England, the Episcopal Church adopted the apostolic doctrines and disciplines of the Church of England as reflected in the Book of Common Prayer and incorporated the Articles of Religion into its Canons. In this shared faith and practice the Episcopal Church remained in communion with the Church of England as an independent province within what eventually became the worldwide Anglican Communion.

WHEREAS, tragically today the American Episcopal Church no longer believes the historic, orthodox Christian faith common not only to Anglicans, but to all believers, some Episcopal leaders expressly deny the central articles of the faith -- saying that traditional theism is "dead," the incarnation is "nonsense," the resurrection of Jesus is fiction, the understanding of the cross is "a barbarous idea," the Bible is "pure propaganda" and so on. Others simply say the creed as poetry subjecting it to fashions of deconstructionist literary criticism.

WHEREAS, revisionism has permeated and fatally contaminated the Episcopal Church, its leaders now openly deny what their faith once believed and celebrate the heresies that Christians in previous ages have gone to the stake to resist.

WHEREAS, Episcopal revisionism abandons the fidelity of faith, the Hebrew Scriptures link truth to a relationship with God. They speak of apostasy as adultery -- a form of betrayal as treacherous as a husband cheating on his wife.

WHEREAS, Episcopal revisionism negates the authority of faith, the "sola scriptura" doctrine of the Reformation church has been supplanted by the "sola cultura" heresy (by the culture alone) of post-modernism. No longer under biblical authority, the Episcopal Church today is either its own authority or finds its authority in the shifting winds of intellectual and social fashion of the day.

WHEREAS, Episcopal revisionism severs the continuity of faith; cutting itself off from the universal faith that spans the centuries and the continents, it becomes culturally captive to one culture and one time. While professing tolerance and inclusiveness, certain Episcopal attitudes toward fellow believers around the world, who make up a majority of the Anglican family, have been arrogant and even racist.

WHEREAS, Episcopal revisionism destroys the credibility of faith; there is so little that is distinctively Christian left in the theology of some Episcopal leaders. It is no accident that orthodox congregations like Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish are growing and that in the last century great converts to the Christian faith have been attracted to biblical orthodoxy, not to revisionism. The prospect for the Episcopal Church, already plainly evident in the Diocese of Colorado with its recent closure of its churches in this city, is inevitable withering, decline, and death.

WHEREAS, Episcopal revisionism obliterates the very identity of faith; when the great truths of the Bible and the creeds are abandoned and there is no limit to what can be believed in their place, then the point is reached when there remains little that is identifiably Christian. Would that Episcopal leaders showed the same zeal for their faith that they do for their property. If the present decline continues, all that will remain of a once strong church will be museums - empty buildings kept going by the finances, though not the faith, of the fathers.

WHEREAS, recently the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops has spurned the Dar es Salaam Communique of the Anglican Communion's Primates by declining to accommodate a pastoral scheme for orthodox clergy, congregations, and dioceses in the Episcopal Church; we see no future for orthodox believers in the Episcopal Church. The Presiding Bishop's recent nullification of Fr. Mark Lawrence's election as Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina is further evidence that orthodox clergymen, congregations, and dioceses in the Episcopal Church have no hope of perpetuating their faith, witness, and ecclesial life in the Episcopal Church.

WHEREAS, these are the apostasies we protest and lament; these are the infidelities that drive us to depart from the Episcopal Church in order to remain faithful to Christ, the Bible, and our received Anglican tradition; these are the reasons why we seek to affiliate with an orthodox and mission-oriented community of congregations who remain in continuity with our great spiritual heritage.

WE, the vestry members and officers of the corporation, DO HEREBY RESOLVE on this 26th Day of March in the Year of our Lord 2007, that Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish will leave the Episcopal Church but remain in the Anglican Communion.

We resolve to leave the Episcopal Church because it first left the biblical and historic faith and us. Here we stand, our consciences held captive by the Word of God. We cannot do otherwise. God help us. Amen.


I'm Sorry...

I have been the Worst. Blogger. Ever. in recent weeks.

But perhaps a brief update will clarify why I've been MIA from blogland: I recently got a job. That's right, people, my first full-time job ever, and it's in an office, no less! I'm now officially the church secretary (or "administrative assistant" if you prefer) at Sojourn. I've been working 40 plus hours a week, and it's been pretty mentally draining. When your teaching pastor is a visionary who is amazing at setting a vision for Gospel transformation before the people but who is Not Into Details, and when your church has exploded from around 400 on a Sunday to over 800, and when you've recently moved into a building that's still under construction, and when no systems of organization have been put in place in the office, and when your church has never had a paid secretary... Well, let's just say that things are a little chaotic in Sojourn's offices right now.

In other random news:

I know April is Kill Your TV/Cultivate Beauty month, and I'm cultivating it, already! But I had to watch House tonight. And it was weirdly pro-life. There's been a subtle undercurrent of pro-lifeishness, or at least questioning the pro-"choice" agenda, for a while now, with some of the characters debating the whole it's-a-person, it's-not-a-person thing (which, incidentally, seems to reflect the growing national discomfort with killing someone whose face and fingernails you can see on a 4-D ultrasound). But tonight House performed a surgery on an unborn baby, at about 21 weeks, and they showed the baby grasping House's finger from the womb. It's based on a real picture (view here if you're not squeamish), and shows in a pretty intense way that this baby, though he could legally have been killed, is in fact a person.

Alanis Morissette, whose voice has just gotten cooler over the years, has covered/spoofed the execrable Black Eyed Peas' song "My Humps." Seriously. Google it if you don't believe me. A slate.com reviewer called the original song (and I use that term very, very loosely) "so awful it hurts the mind" and "so bad as to veer toward evil."

Because I have a job, I can now buy stuff! Stuff like groceries and shampoo, and a very cute dress for my friend Lindsey's wedding. I can also wear this extremely cute dress to church on Easter, because in grand Southern style, the ladies of Sojourn have decided to dress up for Easter. Ordinarily that would involve putting on the dark-wash jeans, but we're not going halfway on this puppy.

Well, that's about all that's going on in my life. Don't give up on me! I hope to have something actually of substance here in the next few days... Lord willing!