Who Owes Me Three Dollars?

February 20, 2007

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Filed under: Uncategorized — ineedsheetmusic @ 10:09 pm

I remember when I was about 12 years old and took piano lessons. I didn’t really like to practice much but oddly, one of the things I liked to do when it came to playing the piano was that I liked playing hymns. Especially the ones that had some nice chord changes.

Here is a hymn that has some really sweet chords that you can listen to here.

The reason for this post is to get some help. I have a friend who I excitedly went up to one day at church and said I found a hymn that I really liked. Keep in mind that the reason behind my liking the hymn was because of the music. I didn’t really pay that much attention to the words. Well, my friend said that, yeah, the music was fine but she said, "just listen to those words. They are terrible".

Here are the words:

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide
And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

There are two places in these words that I definitely have issues with. One is the end of the second stanza. "So seems my saviour’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven" has to be reworded to "a ladder down from heaven". There are no ladders up to heaven. And "Jacob’s ladder" was not for human use but for ministering angels who used it. I’m also not clear on what is implied by the "eternal grave" idea in the third stanza.

Beside that, what do you think of the words to this hymn? What didn’t my friend like about it, do you think?

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  1. How’s that Qumana workin’ out for you? Have you tried posting a picture yet?

    I had to think about verse 3 for a second as well. What it’s saying is the Cross is the watchman that stands between us and Hell (the eternal grave). So maybe that stanza has a questionable presupposition that we (Christians) keep trying to get into Hell, but the Cross is keeping us out.

    Other than that, I think the words are fine — pretty good, even. If I had to guess, I would say maybe your friend objects to the downer focus on the cross, instead of the victorious risen Jesus? (Theology of the Cross vs. Theology of Glory?)

    Comment by RubeRad — February 21, 2007 @ 7:40 am

  2. She probably said that it’s like a crucifix, because Christ is still on the cross, not having risen.

    But that would not be a very good criticism of this song.

    But if you don’t tell us what she said, how can we help?

    I agree with Rube, cross between me and hell. I should go there, the eternal grave, but the cross prevents me, stands in my way.

    And since Jesus himself, his person and work, IS Jacob’s ladder, there’s no problem saying that the cross is a ladder up to heaven, provided by that you don’t mean that I actually utilize the cross to climb the ladder to heaven, but that the cross is where heaven and earth are joined, reunited, so to speak. Where justice and mercy meet and return to coexistence in perfect harmony. Yes, it’s Jesus who comes down from heaven on the ladder…

    Ah, whatever. The ladder is the metaphor of Scripture. There’s nothing wrong with the metaphor itself, as long as you don’t take it to mean the ladder of being.

    The Bible uses the metaphor without divinization in mind. We don’t have to throw out the metaphor.

    It wasn’t just up to heaven, nor was it only down from heaven. It was both. Angels ascended and descended on it.


    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 22, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

  3. This comment on the song came from this woman at a time when I didn’t really have a brain engaged. So I didn’t ask “What do you mean, lousy words?” So we’ll never know – I aint’ going to ask now.

    Thanks for the caution of “ladder of being” vs. ladder as metaphor for something like that which allows our entrance into God’s presence upon death, or something.

    Comment by Bruce S. — February 23, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  4. Well, I’m not sure I’m ready to interpret Jacob’s ladder, but I know it’s a picture of Christ.

    Joh 1:51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

    I don’t know what it means.


    Comment by Echo_ohcE — February 23, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  5. I’ll explain the ladder metaphor if you decipher this children’s song I grew up with: “Climb, climb up sunshine mountain heavenly breezes blow, Climb, climb up sunshine maountain, faces all aglow, Turn, turn from sin and darkness, turn to God on high, Climb, climb up sunshine mountain, you and I.

    I still have no idea, and I’m 41 years old.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — February 26, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

  6. Have you figured out the one about “‘Gladly’, the cross-eyed bear” yet? Who was that circus-freak animal anyways, and why didn’t they just buy him some corrective glasses?

    Comment by RubeRad — February 27, 2007 @ 7:02 am

  7. I asked my mom, when I was a kid, what a “pionder” was. I heard it a lot in the song, “When the roll is called a “pionder” I’ll be there.

    Comment by Albino Hayford — February 27, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

  8. We had “heeper call”. (From the “Best of the Imperials”).

    Comment by Bruce S. — February 27, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

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