Apr 17, 2014

praising through pain // old rugged cross

"The Old Rugged Cross"
George Bennard

It seems only fitting -- and so good for the heart -- to dwell on a hymn about the Cross the night before Good Friday. For what else brings more hope than that old rugged cross that held the Savior as He was pierced for our sins? What greater joy than the redemption found in the great exchange of His pure innocence for our faults and failures? What greater peace than the assurance of our future under the pierced hands that gave it all so that we can live?

"The Old Rugged Cross" was a hymn birthed from the heart of a traveling preacher and so, fittingly, three different towns claim it was written in their town since Bennard slowly wrote the song over a period of time. A half century later after writing it {he supposedly started it Christmastime 1912} he explained its roots:

"I was going through a great travail. I needed help. Then I remembered an old wooden cross I had once seen. The first ten words came to me: 'On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross.' It must have been two weeks later before I went back and finished it'"
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  1. On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
    The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
    And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
    For a world of lost sinners was slain.
    • Refrain:
      So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
      Till my trophies at last I lay down;
      I will cling to the old rugged cross,
      And exchange it some day for a crown.
  2. Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
    Has a wondrous attraction for me;
    For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
    To bear it to dark Calvary.
  3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
    A wondrous beauty I see,
    For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
    To pardon and sanctify me.
  4. To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
    Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
    Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
    Where His glory forever I’ll share.

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What is your favorite song(s) about the Cross? Whether contemporary or an old, timeless 
hymn, what lyrics help bring your heart and mind to a place of being in wonder of the price Jesus paid to bear all of our sin on His blameless shoulders and give us joy and peace? 


  1. Every time I hear this hymn, I think of my Pop (my grandfather on my dad's side)! We sang this hymn at his funeral and it is one of the hymns that I have framed beside my bed. :)

    1. That's so nice! I love it too. It reminds me of my childhood. My dad had a Statler Brothers cassette we would listen to and this song was a favorite of mine.

  2. This series has been so encouraging Elle, and I'm sure it's ministered to other's hearts as it has mine!

    1. Thanks, Natalie! That means a lot! It is ministering to my own heart, too. It brings so much more depth to the lyrics as I get a better grasp on the lives of the ones who penned these beautiful songs.


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice