But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds di lui we are healed. ” – Isaiah 53: 5 (NIV)
As we worship during this season of Lent which leads us to Holy Week and the celebration of Jesus ‘resurrection there are many familiar hymns that focus our attention upon Jesus’ sacrifice upon a rugged, blood stained cross. One particular hymn derives its title from the words of its first verse:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Issac Watts drives home to us a truth that only those who love Jesus deeply understand. The cross of Christ offers great deliverance but it also demands great sacrifice. Issac was born in 1674, in Southampton, England. At age 24 he began to preach and minister in the Mark Lane Independent Church in London. Pastor Watts was deeply disappointed with the hymns of his day di lui, which failed to inspire his parishioners to genuine worship and holy living. His dissatisfaction di lui led him to compose more than 600 hymns, all designed to call his congregation to a deeper knowledge and worship of God. This hymn was written for use in a Communion service.
As we sing anthems like this we are reminded that God’s mission was for Christ to be our living Savior. The cross reveals to us God’s heart and character of him. In this season of Lent, I invite you to focus your attention upon such themes as – Reconciliation, Redemption, Sacrifice, Salvation and Forgiveness – demonstrating how God has reached out to us through Christ to bring us into a devoted relationship with Him, transform our lives and bring us His healing and forgiveness. It is when we fully grasp the mission of the cross that we are able to conclude with Pastor Watts that God’s:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
– The Rev. Keith Carlson is chaplain at Ecumen of Litchfield.