Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed? or, At The Cross

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
   And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
   And now I am happy all the day!

This chorus is fairly well known. It was first penned in 1885 by Ralph E. Hudson. However, I’ve not done anything with this.

The chorus, you see, was added to a much older song written by the late, great, Isaac Watts sometime around 1709. It would seem that Hudson thought Watts’ classic work needed a chorus. While I won’t disagree, I will say that I don’t much care for how the updated chorus fits with the old verses. Don’t get me wrong here. The chorus is beautiful. It’s great. Dare I go as far as to say that it is perfect? Almost… But I don’t like how it fits with the song.

Truth be told, the song itself was not familiar in the least to me. I found that to be strange, seeing as the chorus rang bells immediately. No matter. Like I said, I did nothing at all with the chorus. Let’s pretend I found this hymn in 1884, just before Hudson did.

This one really laid it out pretty plain for me. God is good, and His love outweighs all of my filthiness. I was far too sin-sick to expect so much as a sideways glance from the King of Kings, and yet He looked longingly upon me. He proved His love by leaving everything to die on what should have been my cross. He has placed His spirit within me, forming what is the most intimate bond possible. The life of God literally pulses through my veins. I was so unworthy, but He saw fit to make me worthy. How can you beat that!?

Show me a king who would die,
In the place of a lowly peasant;
A thieving, filthy, wretched worm,
Not fit for life, not worthy of the king’s eye.

But my King, the blood-stained Sovereign,
Soaked by His own crimson flow,
Was Himself consumed in death,
Suffering the penalties for my crimes.

The wrath of God was poured upon Him:
Unabated; Unmerciful; Unstoppable.
No greater love. No greater suffering.
None more unworthy than myself.

The sun itself, hanging bright in the sky,
Hid his face for shame and this spectacle.
How much more I, the guilty one,
Having signed the death warrant.

Christ blotted out my name in blood.
Scrawling his own over mine,
He paid the debt unpayable,
And caused the convict to walk free.

For what cause but love? None compares.
I am alive, and not by my own hand.
You died for me. What choice do I have?
Willingly, entirely, gratefully, I’ll live for you.

View this original in its entirety here.

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