Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scandal of the Cross Hymn

The challenge was to (find or) write a hymn about "turning lives and cities inside out and upside down... highlight[ing] the disturbing nature and disruptive effect of the Gospel." The Bible passages suggested to pilot the hymn included Luke 4:14-29 and Acts 19.

Challenge accepted! I, however, would like to focus more on passages from John chapters 8 and 10, 1 Peter 2, and a sprinkling of other places where Jesus stirred up controversy.
The stone by men rejected
Is made the cornerstone!
Christ, slain and resurrected,
Is Lord and Lamb alone;
Though guiltless, was corrected,
For sinners to atone.

Dear foot, of whose poor sandal
None dare untie the thong,
Are you a stone of scandal
To trip the raging throng,
Though He whom they mishandle
Placed not a footstep wrong?

What gentle voice, appealing
For weary hearts to rest,
Can also cry, revealing
The truth men's ears detest?
Though death His lips be sealing,
Our peace they will attest.

What hand—restoring, seeking,
Oft reaching out to heal—
Men's custom also tweaking,
Can bring the law to heel?
Show now, by gesture speaking,
Your nail-wounds, fresh and real!

Twice nearly stoned for teaching
That He with God is one!
Pressed near a cliff for preaching
Himself the promised Son!
At last, when all are screeching
To hang Him, it is done.

On Him an armed mob rounded,
Delivered with a kiss;
Yet, though abused and wounded,
He blessed and promised bliss.
Would that all lives were founded
On such a stone as this!

So strongly are the senses
Impressed by Him, to some;
He shatters vile pretenses,
Refuses to be dumb.
Indeed, woe to offenses,
And Him by whom they come!

Yet our great gain is owing
To His most grievous loss;
So we speak boldly, showing
A joy immune to cost:
Our hope, enriched by knowing
The scandal of the cross!

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