URC Daily Devotion Monday 13th July 2020 Basis of Union 1

Monday 13th July 2020

Scripture Deuteronomy 6:4 and Psalm 72:9

Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad!
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!
Baruch shem k’vod malchuto l’olam va-ed.
Blessed is God’s glorious majesty forever and ever.


There is but one Church of the one God. He called Israel to be his people, and in fulfilment of the purpose then begun he called the Church into being through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (1)


The Basis begins with the Church. But theologically the starting point is with God – God’s one-ness and God’s purpose and initiative in calling the Church into being. All the rest is, as we might think, footnoted elaboration of that great truth. All that follows is response and outworking.
What the Basis claims for the Church is stark, startling and wonderful. The characteristic mode of divine action is shown to be “calling into being”. The God who called and calls all that is into being, in due time called the Church.
Are we able to sit with that understanding for a moment? Just a moment before we go teasing out the implications and difficulties, qualifications and functions and limits of the church.
There is time enough for all of that, the Basis will tease out some small elements of it all in later sections – not least in that Statement on the Nature, Faith and Order that we have heard so often.
The Basis begins with the ‘one Church’, not with the United Reformed Church.
The truth we hear in the first sentences of Basis is beautiful in its generative instability.  It is supersaturated with meaning and questions. Questions of how this called-into-being community connects with Israel, and with the plural world, and with the Kingdom of Jesus’ teaching, are straining to be asked.
But for today: “There is but one Church of the one God”… called into being “through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit”.


Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!
One God of all that is
living through history
always in community
calling community into being
in your image
Let us love you with all our heart and soul and might
Blessed is God’s glorious majesty forever and ever. Amen

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr John McNeil Scott is principal of the Scottish United Reformed and Congregational College in Glasgow


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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