Built on a Rock (ELW 652)
1 Built on a rock the church shall stand, even when steeples are falling; crumbled have
spires in ev’ry land, bells still are chiming and calling–calling the young and old to rest,
calling the souls of those distressed, longing for life everlasting.
2 Surely, in temples made with hands God the Most High is not dwelling–high in the
heav’ns his temple stands, all earthly temples excelling. Yet he who dwells in heav’n
above deigns to abide with us in love, making our bodies his temple.
3 Christ builds a house of living stones: we are his own habitation; he fills our hearts, his
humble thrones, granting us life and salvation. Where two or three will seek his face, he
in their midst will show his grace, blessings upon them bestowing.
4 Yet in this house, an earthly frame, Jesus the children is blessing; hither we come to
praise his name, faith in our Savior confessing. Jesus to us his Spirit sent, making with
us his covenant, granting his children the kingdom.
5 Through all the passing years, O Lord, grant that, when church bells are ringing,
many may come to hear your Word, who here this promise is bringing: “I know my
own, my own know me; you, not the world, my face shall see; my peace I leave with
I’ve been spending time reflecting on the five senses this week. As I started to think about a hymn that might fit, I immediately thought of “Built on a Rock.” In the right setting and with the right organ, “Built on a Rock” is an experience that tingles the senses. I love hearing the deep booms of the low notes. And I love how you can feel the notes vibrating through the air from the pipes.
I usually get caught up in the experience and don’t pay enough attention to the verses. But verse 5 focuses on what we hope the church can be for the world: a community where anyone can see, hear, feel, taste, or smell the presence of God—in worship and in relationship—just by showing up.
That’s a beautiful dream for individuals, congregations, and the greater church.
God, guide your church to be a place and a people for all. Open our hearts to love greatly. Amen.