I knew it had to be a song.
I love singing. I grew up singing. And for a while now, I’ve wondered about the theme of my life. And of course, I knew it had to be a song.
So last night at church, we were singing an old hymn, and it hit me. When I was four years old, my papa taught me to sing, “The Old Rugged Cross” and an old Cathedrals song called “Hallelujah Square.” I distinctly remember being five years old and standing in front of a Ft. Jackson chapel singing to the soldiers who had gathered to hear my family and I sing. And I stood up by myself and sang while my mama played the piano, my Papa said, “Hallelujah. Bless her Jesus,” and my uncle played the guitar. It was the 1970s and my little sister and I wore matching long dresses with our long hair in barrettes.
Those two songs were never just songs to me. I understood that they spoke of the mystery of Heaven, and the promise that Jesus paid the price for our sins so we could live in Heaven someday. A place so wonderful that the lame walked, the blind could see and nobody ever cried again. A place so amazing that I need not fear death, because it could not touch me again in Heaven.
As I grew in my understanding, those songs meant more to me. But there’s just something about the practicality of living a life for Jesus that is picked up in “The Old Rugged Cross.”
- On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
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 someday 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 that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
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 someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
- written in 1913 by George Bennard, public domain