We need more songs calling to the church to action! They seem quite few and far between in modern worship songwriting, and yet so much of the ministry we are called to in the New Testament is not individual but corporate. With this lyric I deliberately wanted to echo the martial flavour of past hymns (“Onward Christian solders”, “He who would valiant be” etc) but at the same time to subvert it – hence the lines in verse 2 “Our call to war/To love the captive soul/But to rage against the captor/And with the sword/That makes the wounded whole/We will fight with faith and valour”. I would encourage all writers of worship songs to write more ‘plural’ songs – songs that refer to “us” and “we” rather than “I” and “me” – as this will more closer capture the tenor of the New Testament and the nature of God’s purpose in the world.
O Church, arise, and put your armour on;
Hear the call of Christ our Captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
We'll stand against the devil's lies;
An army bold, whose battle-cry is Love,
Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valour.
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died,
An inheritance of nations.
Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come put strength in every stride,
Give grace for every hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory.
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