Day: 15/07/2014

A Church for Every Day

A church which fasts and prays
A church worshipping every day
A church with windows
To look, searching out
A church with open doors
To welcome the lost
A church which serves
In humble humility
A church with a sense
Of local community
A church which stands
In awe of God’s word,
A church which declares,
“Jesus is Lord!”
A church which bears
Many fruits and gifts
A church which moves
Where the Spirit sits,
A church which meets
In many buildings
And in none
A church which worships
To many tunes,
In many tongues;
A church which always
Shows the Way,
Speaks Truth,
Preaches Life;
A loyal servant Body,
For our time here on earth,
A church which strives
To be one our God is worth

Horatius Bonar

Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God,
In every part with praise,
That my whole being may proclaim
Thy being and Thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone,
Nor e’en the praising heart
I ask, but for a life made up
Of praise in every part.
– Horatius Bonar

Horatius Bonar (19 December 1808 – 31 May 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet.

The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents. Bonar’s wife, Jane, died in 1876. He is buried in the Canongate Kirkyard.

In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen. He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St John’s parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland.

He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for “The Quarterly journal of Prophecy” from 1848 to 1873 and for the “Christian Treasury” from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts wrote a number of hymns, many of which, e.g., “I heard the voice of Jesus say” and “Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power,” became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including “The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth” in 1869, – and in 1884 “The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds”, who had been married to Bonar’s daughter and who had died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France.