Lord Christ, when first you came to earth,
upon a cross they bound you,
and mocked your saving kingship's worth
by thorns with which they crowned you.
And still our wrongs may fashion now
new thorns to pierce that steady brow,
and robe of sorrow round you.
O awesome Love, which finds no room
in life where sin denies you,
and, doomed to death, shall bring to doom
the pow'r that crucifies you,
till not a stone is left on stone,
and then the nations' pride, o'erthrown,
will nevermore defy you!
New advent of the love of Christ,
will we again refuse you,
till in the night of hate and war
we perish as we lose you?
From ancient doubts our minds release
to seek the kingdom of your peace,
by which alone we choose you.
O wounded hands of Jesus, build
in us your new creation;
our pride is dust, our vaunt is stilled;
we wait your revelation.
O Love that triumphs over loss,
we bring our hearts before your cross;
come, finish your salvation.
This hymn spells out the nature of the baptism with which Jesus was baptized as he was fully immersed in a world that so often will not make room for his "awesome Love." While Jesus' prophecy of division in Luke 12—three against two and two against three—might prompt us to quickly declare ourselves on Jesus' side, the hymn prevents us from believing the fire of God is anything but all-consuming. The cross exposes the truth about us—that we who have sinned are indeed a united front against the Lord of Life.
It is only through the gift of baptism into his death that we have been brought through the fire of judgment into a place where we share in his endless life. With no special loyalty of our own of which to boast, and yet alive by grace, we may gratefully follow the One whose love has proved mightier than our rejection.