The Wonderful Cross

When it comes to a battle of the best lyrics, I find that old hymns usually come out on top of the contemporary Christian songs that have been produced in recent years. The words from these ancient songs are simple, profound and biblical. But, the problem is that the musical style of the song is a few hundred years out of date and not many of us really enjoy listening to organ music or Gregorian chants.

You’re probably aware of the fact that a lot of Christian artists have caught onto this and have attempted to modernize a lot of hymns by combining the golden lyrics of the past with music that we can connect with to produce some really great songs. We’ve spent the month of February at CCCB Coopers Plains singing “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)” by Chris Tomlin. He took a classic hymn, changed the music a bit, added in a bridge part, and then stuck it at the end of one of his albums that’s since been certified Gold as of 2008 (according to wikipedia). Maybe it shows a lack of creativity to do a slightly modified song cover and stick your name behind it but it seems to be going on everywhere these days – especially in pop music. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, “Yesterday” by the Beatles, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the ‘Stones, “I Got A Woman” by Ray Charles…the list goes on.

Anyway, I like hymns redux and “The Wonderful Cross” by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves and JD Walt is no exception. It’s a cover of the old hymn written in 1707 by Issac Watts called “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross” and has a beautiful message centered on the cross.

whenisurveythewondrouscross1

I was recently reminded by Bob Kauflin, a pastor from Sovereign Grace Ministries, that the central and foundational theme of our worship is the cross of Jesus Christ. Worship referring not only to the music we make or songs we sing, but what we do every moment of our lives – our glorifying response to God for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. This little symbol that so many people wear around their necks stands for something huge: the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God. As Bob puts it, “It focuses on His substitutionary death at Calvary…His incarnation, His life of perfect obedience, His suffering, His resurrection, His ascension, His present intercession and reign in glory, His triumphant return.”  It represents the only way to God, the only answer, and our only hope.

This song moves me every time I hear it and refocuses my often distracted attention on the awesomeness of the cross.

“The he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.'” – Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24

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