The Old Rugged Cross

Channeling the Baptist in me, one of my favorite hymns: The Old Rugged Cross. The lyrics are below, but first, a word from our Sponsor: the cross is the central physical fact of Christianity. Far too many preachers, especially in mainline denominations, go on and on about Jesus’ earthly ministry; Jesus as a great teacher and moralist; Jesus as making a favorable decision for the poor and powerless. No argument with this, except…

We hear all too little of the Cross. Of the humiliation of the Cross; of it’s utter degradation and heinous death for those executed on it. And here’s an itinerant preacher, condemned by the power elite of the Jews to be killed by the pagan Romans.

We are all with Jesus on the Cross. We are all about to die a heinous death, in sin, unless we can look up at and through the Cross.

Look at it, behold the Son of Man, tortured and killed for my sins. And yours. The Cross is dark death. Until the light of the Resurrection shines through. Brighter than any sun; sufficiently bright to light our way.

The lyrics below contain pretty much all the theology you’d ever need.

The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain

[refrain] So I’ll cherish the old rugged Cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged Cross
And exchange it some day for a crown

Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world
Has a wondrous attraction for me
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary


In the old rugged Cross, stain’d with blood so divine
A wondrous beauty I see
For the dear Lamb of God, left his Glory above
To pardon and sanctify me


To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true
Its shame and reproach gladly bear
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away
Where his glory forever I’ll share



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