“Rise, O Church” is the opening line of hymn #548 in the ELW. I asked the staff in the Synod Office for ideas for a title for this blog. Some were not so helpful, but Bishop Crist suggested a title/first line of a hymn, so I started looking. “Rise, O Church” caught my eye. I have to confess that I don’t know that I have ever sung the hymn, or if I have, it wasn’t memorable. (Sorry to the composer of the tune—Timothy J. Strand. I would suggest using the lyrics with the tune from “Lord, Dismiss Us With Your Blessing” ELW #546 instead) But the lyric by Susan Palo Cherwien are powerful.
Stanza 1: “Rise, O Church, like Christ arisen, from this meal of love and grace; may we through such love envision whose we are and whose, our praise. (Alleleuia, alleluia), God, the wonder of our days.
Stanza 2: “Rise, transformed, and choose to follow after Christ, though wounded, whole; broken, shared, our loves are hallowed to release and to console. …. Christ, our present, past and goal.”
I believe my call as the Director for Evangelical Mission for the Montana Synod is to call the church to rise, to grow deeper into Christ, to be transformed in following our Lord more intentionally and ever more faithfully, to be courageous in our following, trusting that the God who has been faithful will continue to be faithful to each of us and to the church even as we face an unknown future.
The first benchmark of the Montana Synod is to “meet the future boldly”. “Rise, O Church” is an affirmation and an invitation to get up, get going, to move with trust into God’s future, not knowing where we are going, but trusting that God is going with us. As we follow our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, we too, rise in living lives of service, love and mercy!
Keep an eye on the blog in the next weeks and months. My intention is to provide you with resources and suggestions to help to strengthen congregations and all of us as we follow Jesus. Rise, O Church! And here is a suggestion–work the hymn, “Rise, O Church” into a service sometime in the next month.
Yours, in service to our Lord,
Pastor Peggy Paugh Leuzinger, DEM