Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Full Text

1 Beneath the cross of Jesus
I long to 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 burdens of the day.

2 Upon the cross of Jesus,
my eye at times can see
the very dying form of one
who suffered there for me.
And from my contrite heart, with tears,
two wonders I confess:
the wonder of his glorious love
and my unworthiness.

3 I take, O cross, your 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 nor loss,
my sinful self my only shame,
my glory all, the cross.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

For an instance of such a stance, see John 19:25.  For exhortation and proclamation of its benefits see Philippians 3:7-11 and Hebrews 12:1-3.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song reflects the narrative of the suffering and death of Christ on Calvary, events whose significance and purpose is deepened by the confessions of the church. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 15-16, Questions and Answers 37-44 explain the significance of each step of his suffering. Question and Answer 40 testifies that Christ had to suffer death “because God’s justice and truth require it; nothing else could pay for our sins except the death of the son of God.”

The Belgic Confession, Article 20 professes that “God made known his justice toward his Son…poured out his goodness and mercy on us…giving to us his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.”
Consider also the testimony of Belgic Confession, Article 21: “He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.”


Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Introductory/Framing Text

We stand beneath the cross of Jesus,
and we see there his dying form.
Witnessing his suffering and his great love for us
compels us to come before him in prayer.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Call to Worship

Today we remember Jesus was crucified.
He was pierced for our transgressions.
He suffered and died for our iniquities.
We remember the sacrifice of our Lord with gratitude
because his death gives us life and brings redemption to the world.
Let us worship our Savior.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Jesus said:
Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
—from Matthew 11:28-30, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

When you were dead in trespasses
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
God made you alive together with him,
when he forgave us all our trespasses,
erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.
He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities
and made a public example of them,
triumphing over them in it.
Brothers and sisters: through the cross of Christ
we are forgiven, and the power of evil is broken. Praise be to God!
—based on Colossians 2:13-15, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

May I never boast of anything
except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
—Galatians 6:14, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Brothers and sisters,
go out in the knowledge
that the one who thought
we needed dying for,
also thought we were worth dying for,
and gave himself up for us,
a terrible and thrilling sacrifice.
Let this blessed assurance be upon you as you leave,
that Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe,
died for you, out of love for you, in order to bless you now and always. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Do not hurry away from the cross.
Linger near
to survey,
to stand,
to ponder our Savior’s suffering and death.
Consider, carefully and well,
the preciousness of his sacrifice for you,
the greatness of his mercy toward you.
Then depart from Golgotha confidently,
knowing that the Spirit
will keep you in your crucified Savior’s strong embrace
and prompt you to trust and obey him always.
The God of peace will go with you. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Tune Information

D♭ Major



Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Hymn Story/Background

Elizabeth Clephane wrote this text in five stanzas shortly before she died at the age of 39; it was the first of eight of her texts published posthumously the next couple of years in the Scottish magazine Family Treasury (the last being “There Were Ninety and Nine,” made famous by Ira D. Sankey in the United States). The tune ST. CHRISTOPHER is traditionally associated with the text.
— Emily Brink

Author Information

Elizabeth Clephane (b. Edinburgh, Scotland, June 18, 1830; d. Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland, February 19, 1869) was the third daugh­ter of An­drew Cle­phane, Sher­iff of Fife and Kin­ross. She lived most of her life in Me­lrose, Scot­land, about 30 miles south­east of Ed­in­burgh. She spent most of her mon­ey on char­it­a­ble caus­es, and was known lo­cal­ly as “The Sun­beam.”
Clephane’s hymns ap­peared post­hu­mous­ly, al­most all for the first time, in the Fam­i­ly Trea­sury (1872), un­der the gen­er­al ti­tle of “Breath­ings on the Border.”
— Cyberhymnal.org

Composer Information

Frederick C. Maker (b. Bristol, England, August 6, 1844; d. January 1, 1927) received his early musical training as a chorister at Bristol Cathedral, England. He pursued a career as organist and choirmaster—most of it spent in Methodist and Congregational churches in Bristol. His longest tenure was at Redland Park Congregational Church, where he was organist from 1882-1910. Maker also conducted the Bristol Free Church Choir Association and was a long-time visiting professor of music at Clifton College. He wrote hymn tunes, anthems, and a cantata, Moses in the Bulrushes.
— Bert Polman
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