This coming Lord’s Day will mark the 5th anniversary of our uniting with our church body, Buck Run Baptist Church, to worship and serve God in company with them.
I know I have told this story at other times and in other places, but it is never lost on us every time we gather with our fellow members for worship, fellowship, and service… When I resigned my former pastorate on 28 May 2017, we hadn’t made any advance plans or preparations for where we would serve after that. We just knew we were going to continue following Jesus to worship and serve Him where He chose to lead and place us.
In God’s Divine Providence, and through conversations with mutual ministry colleagues God had already woven into my life in preparation for this juncture, I met and talked with our Pastor Hershael York that next week. We first visited Buck Run Baptist Church on 11 June of that year. We knew we were home from that first visit. We continued to attend, counsel, and pray over the next six weeks.
Then on 23 July 2017, we presented ourselves to our church body to announce our commitment to worship and serve the Lord in company with them – as we have done with joy for the past five years.
I have just recently come across this hymn. It is a poetic paraphrase of Psalm 122. The author is W. Boyce, but I have been unable to find any sort of biographical information on him other than it was published in the (Presbyterian) Psalter, 1912.
Since this hymn distills, encapsulates, and expresses, not only the spirit and joy of Psalm 122, but also our own spirit and joy when we first made our commitment – which has continued to this present time – I want to share it with you to celebrate this anniversary.
I am offering it here as a testimony of our thanksgivings to God and also to our fellow worshipers and servants of God at Buck Run: “With joy I heard my friends exclaim, ‘Come, let us in God’s temple meet!’”
1 With joy I heard my friends exclaim,
“Come, let us in God’s temple meet”;
Within thy gates, O Zion blest,
Shall ever stand our willing feet!
2 How beautiful doth Zion stand,
A city built compact and fair;
The people of the Lord unite
With joy and praise to worship there.
3 They come to learn the will of God,
To pay their vows, God’s grace to own,
For there is judgment’s royal seat,
Messiah’s sure and lasting throne.
4 For Zion’s peace let prayer be made;
May all that love thee prosper well!
Within thy walls let peace abide,
And gladness with thy children dwell.
5 For sake of friends and kindred dear,
My heart’s desire is Zion’s peace,
And for the house of God, the Lord,
My loving care shall never cease.
W. Boyce, 1912 Psalter