In the bosom of the Father

21
Lawrence Gatei

Newton, MA, United States

I have always wondered how we would have known the organic aspect of the church had Paul not described the church as the Body of Christ. To see that the church is Christ's own body and that this is Christ's continuation is truly a marvelous revelation. Every time I sing this hymn I really have a sense of loving all the dear children of God whom He has brought to be the "dear body and dear Bride" of Christ. Christ and His church are not separate. The Church as the Body of Christ is His extension, continuation, expression and fullness. Hence, the church as the Body of Christ is the continuation of Christ as the Head of the Body. Awesome! This hymn gives us all the deeper description of the organic connection between Christ and His church. How privileged it is to be a part of Christ's extension! When we meet brothers and sisters in Christ, we have this sense of being Christ's Body. Hence our reaction is that of love and care toward them as we are members one of another in the same Body. Thank you Lord for bringing me to be part of your continuation, expression and fullness!

Wherever I went, I always preached Brother Nee's teachings. Some people considered this a shame, but to me it was a glory. At the beginning of my speaking I would tell people that what I was sharing was Brother Nee's message. I even learned to follow Brother Nee's gestures, posture, and accent. It was a glory to speak what he spoke. Before I began the work in the United States, I wrote Hymns, #203, which speaks of the one grain that became many grains to be the Lord's continuation. The Lord covers me to say that this is a very deep hymn. I also wrote "O glorious Christ, Savior mine" (#501) and "Oh, what a life! Oh, what a peace!" (#499). When I came to the United States, the first message of the first conference I gave in English was on the all-inclusive Christ, based on Deuteronomy 8:7-9. However, in all this I never changed. What I speak is still from Brother Nee.

The many grains produced by Christ's resurrection are His increase (John 3:30a). Farmers make a living by the increase of their seed. They sow a relatively small quantity of seed into the earth, and after three months they reap a large harvest. That harvest is the increase of the seed. When Jesus was on the earth traveling in the holy land, He was the unique grain. But today, consider how many "Christs" there are on this earth. There are not only thousands but millions around the globe. This is the vine mentioned in John 15. This great vine covers the entire globe. The church, which is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12) as His increase, is the true vine. This too is a product of Christ's resurrection. This is Christ's increase, propagation, and surplus.

The fourth stanza of Hymns, #203 reads:

We're Thy total reproduction,

Thy dear Body and Thy Bride,

Thine expression and Thy fulness

For Thee ever to abide.

We are Thy continuation,

Thy life-increase and Thy spread,

Thy full growth and Thy rich surplus,

One with Thee, our glorious Head.

In this verse a number of words are used to express the fact that the church is Christ's increase and expansion.

Isaiah 53:10b says not only that Christ will see a seed but also that He will extend His days. Today Christ is extending His days by living in His believers. His believers are His extension. Therefore, we may sing these words: "We are Thy continuation,/Thy life-increase and Thy spread" (Hymns, #203).

The entire book of Revelation, like the entire Bible, is a book of testimony. The entire Bible testifies concerning God first by Christ and then by us. We are Christ's continuation. Hymns, #203 says that we are Christ's reproduction, multiplication, duplication, and continuation. A person's body is a continuation of his head. The body and the head are not two persons, but one person. Our body is the head's continuation. In the same way, Christ's Body is the continuation of Him as the Head. The Head and the Body both bear the same testimony for God. With the Head it is subjective. With the Body it is objective.

This hymn says that once Christ, the only begotten Son, was the only grain. Through His death and resurrection He has made us the many grains. As such grains, we are the many sons of God (Heb. 2:10), Christ's many brothers, His many "twins." Now the many grains are blended as one loaf, which is Christ's Body, His reproduction.

In John 8 a sinful woman was brought to the Lord. Eventually, He said to her, "Has no one condemned you?" (v. 10). "And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more" (v. 11). This was also a sign. The Lord Jesus was God expressed, yet He would not condemn a sinner. Is this not something mystical? He was a divine and mystical person living in the divine and mystical realm, doing everything in a divine and mystical way. We should be such persons. If we are working in an office, those around us should have the feeling that there is something extraordinary about us. This extraordinary thing is divine and mystical. We all need to be discipled by the Lord to be divine and mystical persons.

By the Lord's mercy, I was able to write Hymns, #203 because of the Lord's discipling. Stanza 4 of this hymn says:

We're Thy total reproduction,

Thy dear Body and Thy Bride,

Thine expression and Thy fullness,

For Thee ever to abide.

We are Thy continuation,

Thy life-increase and Thy spread,

Thy full growth and Thy rich surplus,

One with Thee, our glorious Head.

I wrote this hymn in my sixties, after I had been discipled by the Lord for about forty years.

All of us need to be impressed with the revelation of the church in hymn #203. I wrote this hymn in 1963. During that time I realized there was a shortage of hymns on the deeper truths. This hymn says:

...

We must pay our full attention to stanza 4 of this hymn. This stanza reveals that the church is God's total reproduction, God's dear Body, God's bride, God's expression, God's fullness, God's continuation, God's life-increase, God's spread, God's full growth, and God's rich surplus. We may have sung this hymn many times without any impression of its significance. Stanza 4 of hymn #203 tells us what the church is. Have we ever considered that as the church we are God's total reproduction, God's continuation, and God's rich surplus? This is why we should pray, "Lord, give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation to sing such a song." We need to read and sing this song prayerfully until we really see what the church is in its highest sense. The church is the total reproduction of God!