Pastor's Letter by Bro. Rudy
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
One of my favorite hymns is Isaac Watts’ “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” We sang it recently in the 11:00 service, and we generally sing it during Holy Week. The hymn was inspired by a verse from Galatians; “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14; AKJV) Robert Morgan, in his book Then Sings My Soul, wrote that “Charles Wesley reportedly said he would rather have written it than all his own.”
In his third verse, Watts calls us to see the suffering of Christ and His great Love. He wrote; “See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down; Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?” Have you surveyed the cross lately?
I remember a painting of the crucifixion at Candler School of Theology. It was painted in such a way that you were at the foot of the cross looking up at Jesus. The first thing that your eyes see is the wooden nail that holds Jesus’ feet to the cross. It is covered with blood. As your eyes move up the cross, it appears that His body could fall down on you, if it were not for the nails in His hands that held Him up. His face is covered with sweat and blood. The crown of thorns on His head had cut His forehead. Then it happens, your eyes come in contact with His eyes. It appears that Jesus is looking down at you from the cross.
I remember the first time I saw that painting. It seemed that Jesus was looking at me from the cross. As I looked at Jesus on the cross, I sensed Him saying to me; “Do you see what I’m suffering? Do you see my pain? I’m doing this for you, because I love you.”
Is that not the message of the cross to every one of us? Watts captured it in the phrase, “Sorrow and love flow mingled down.” In His suffering and dying, we see the depth of God’s love for you and me.
As I survey the cross, my response is the last part of Watts’ hymn: “Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
See you Sunday as we worship the One who is worthy of all our worship, our soul, our life, our all. -- Rudy