Redeemer Church 2018 Anniversary
A poem written by Tyrone Benson for Redeemer Church's 13th Anniversary Together. Tyrone read the poem over the congregation during our corporate gathering on May 6th.
‘Twas said the blood of martyrs feeds the field.[i]
And how divinely fitting that it does,
Since it’s been said of Him who said, “I’ll build
My church,”[ii] that He has bought it with His blood![iii]
The Church is in its essence only one,[iv]
But in expression ‘tis innumerable—[v]
Not quite the paradox of Christ the Son,
Who calls His flesh and blood consumable.[vi]
Less still is it as much a mystery
As Trinity (that God is one but three),[vii]
Though like the latter in consistency:
Plurality in singularity.
One such expression of the single Church
By strength of God into existence burst.
By will of God ‘twas placed in West Fort Worth,
Its mission there to be the salt of earth.[viii]
And yet its mission flows from prior things:
Its worship and its sense of family.[ix]
Before it reaches out, it upward sings.
(The latter drives the former. Can’t you see?)
Its worship flows into its fellowship,
A shift that happens as its members sup,
As Christ-reflecting emblems touch each lip
(That is, the aforementioned bread and cup).[x]
Rejoicing in the pardon God provides,
The members help each other cast off sin,
The very sin for which the Savior died
(For how can they continue still therein?).[xi]
While hating sin, the members call to mind
The lasting death in which the sin results,[xii]
Which stirs in them a will the lost to find,
That God might grant to them a living pulse.[xiii]
And so from this the mission then ensues
(Lest people perish ‘part from being told)
To reach and raise the dead through gospel truths,
Thus bringing Jesus’ sheep into the fold.[xiv]
Redeemer Church pursues as ends these three:
To love our Lord, each other, and the lost.
So here upon this anniversary,
Let us again agree to count the cost.[xv]
To love our Lord, we must hate all beside.[xvi]
To love each other, we our lives lay down.[xvii]
To love the lost, we rather speak than hide;
We preach the cross far as the curse is found.[xviii]
Let us remain a gospel church that sends,
Our missionaries placed around the world,[xix]
And each a missionary to his friends—
Each man, each woman, and each boy and girl.[xx]
© 2018 Tyrone Benson
[i] “The oftener we [Christians] are mown down by you [our persecutors], the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.” Tertullian, The Apology, chapter 50. Translated by S. Thelwall, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 3, Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian (Buffalo: The Christian Literature Company, 1885).
[ii] Matt. 16:18.
[iii] Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 5:9.
[iv] John 10:16.
[v] For instance, Paul writes to “the churches of Galatians” (Gal. 1:2).
[vi] John 6:51-56.
[vii] 1 Tim. 3:16. The Son’s being “manifested in the flesh” (cf. John 1:14) showed forth “the mystery” that is the distinction of the Son from the Father (cf. John 1:1-2). Likewise, the Son’s being “vindicated by the Spirit” (cf. Rom. 1:4) showed that the Spirit is not the Father or the Son. Yet, each of these is God (John 1:1c; 8:54; 2 Cor. 3:17), though there is but one God (Deut. 6:4).
[viii] Matt. 5:13. “Redeemer Church began out of a desire to see an intentionally God-centered, theologically-grounded, missions-minded Southern Baptist church planted in the Fort Worth area.” Redeemer Church, “Our History,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/our-history.
[ix] “As God’s worshipers, family, and missionaries, we exist to equip God’s people (family) to delight in his glory (worshipers) and to declare his glory to our neighbors and the nations (missionaries).” Redeemer Church, “Our Identity & Vision,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/our-identity-vision.
[x] 1 Cor. 10:16-17.
[xi] Rom. 6:1-2.
[xii] John 8:24; Rom. 6:21.
[xiii] “We engage in global missions…through the regular prayers for God to grant salvation to people from [both reached and] unreached groups.” Redeemer Church, “Outreach,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/outreach.
[xiv] John 10:16. “We firmly believe that salvation, joy and life eternal is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That gospel is perhaps best summarized by the Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.” Redeemer Church, “Outreach,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/outreach.
[xv] “Redeemer Church was born on the first Sunday of May, 2005 when this group…agreed to covenant with one another in church membership.” Redeemer Church, “Our History,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/our-history.
[xvi] Luke 14:26.
[xvii] 1 John 3:16.
[xviii] As a church body, we seek to be actively involved in taking the gospel message to the ends of the earth.” Redeemer Church, “Outreach,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/outreach.
[xix] “We engage in global missions through sending long-term missionaries from our church to serve among unreached people groups…” Redeemer Church, “Outreach,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/outreach.
[xx] “It is our desire to encourage [all] the members of Redeemer Church to be active in sharing the Gospel of Christ with those with whom they come in contact. We encourage one another to be actively involved in their communities, building fruitful, gospel-sharing relationships wherever they live, work and play. A large part of this is the everyday efforts of individual members, showing the grace of God in their lives to others while also seeking to be intentional about sharing the gospel.” Redeemer Church, “Outreach,” http://www.redeemerfortworth.org/outreach.
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