In the cross of Christ I glory,
tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time.
All the light of sacred story
gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o'ertake me,
hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
never shall the cross forsake me;
lo, it glows with peace and joy.
When the sun of bliss is beaming
light and love upon my way,
from the cross the radiance streaming
adds more luster to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
by the cross are sanctified;
peace is there that knows no measure,
joys that through all time abide.
On the island of Macau, the partial walls of an old stone church sit at the top of a hill. I hiked there one afternoon. At the front of the church there is a cross, one of the few things still standing. In the heat of the day, I sat in the shadow of that cross. In 1835, a typhoon overtook the island. It is said everyone fled to the church. Within its walls, many were saved. At the foot of that cross, after the storm had passed, John Bowring penned the words of this hymn. I could picture the people coming, seeking shelter. Verse two speaks the truth of our lives. When the storm comes--and it always does--when fear is real and hope is distant, we live in the shadow of the cross. It is no small thing to know that we are saved. It is no small thing to know that we are not forsaken, but sheltered in the grace of God.
Loving God, shelter us in your grace. Draw near when the storms rage. When our fear is real, bring us your peace. When hope is lost, may we be found in you. Hold us always in the shadow of the cross. Amen.