Lenten Hymns: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

We were going to sing this hymn originally as the sermon hymn for this Sunday. And then, we were going to try to add it to the service. But we’re finding that using music in worship is a lot more complex than we had hoped – copyright issues, social media platforms basically taking down videos for including music… So we will continue to do what we can with sharing music this way.

Our hymnal (Lutheran Service Book) includes two versions of this hymn. The first version (425) is the tune we are all probably most familiar with. I’m not sure about the second (426). I do wonder sometimes at the decision-making process for putting together a hymnal. What do you take out? What do you leave in? I’m guessing this was a compromise as the committee debated which version to include.

Check out verse two: “All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.” Well, these days we’re not sacrificing things willingly. But all of the things that charm us seem to be removed right now. All that’s left is the stuff that matters the most: God, home, family, friendships. I pray this season finds you healthy and employed, both of which are no longer guaranteed. Meanwhile, here the words:

Verse 1

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.

 

Verse 2

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ, my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

 

Verse 3

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?

 

Verse 4

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a tribute far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

 

If you want to listen (and maybe even sing along), here is a video.

About the Author
Stephanie Pittock is the Director of Christian Education at Christ Lutheran Church in Fort Worth. She and her husband, Rev. Travis Pittock (pastor of Christ Lutheran), have been serving together in ministry since their marriage in 2001.

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