“Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” (ELW 335)
1 Jesus, keep me near the cross,
there’s a precious fountain;
free to all, a healing stream
flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross
be my glory ever;
till my ransomed soul shall find
rest beyond the river.
2 Near the cross, a trembling soul,
love and mercy found me;
there the bright and morning star
sheds its beams around me. Refrain
3 Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day
with its shadow o’er me. Refrain
4 Near the cross I’ll watch and wait,
hoping, trusting ever,
till I reach the golden strand
just beyond the river. Refrain
When I sing this hymn with its plea, “Jesus, keep me near the cross,” I think also of the lyrics of a song from the Taizé community: “Stay with me; watch and pray. Stay awake and pray.” In this particular verse of our theme hymn, we ask that the scenes and visions of the cross be brought before us.
The words of “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” request that Jesus would keep the shadow of the cross over us throughout our daily walk. The shadow of Jesus’ death looming before us might lead us to question what the Christian walk is all about. Our spiritual journey may be threatened by fears of suffering or death as we hear the call to live lives of justice for others. But the good news is that God is a God of resurrecting power. Our spiritual journey then is to walk in that power.
God of love, your Son died for us. Help us to walk in the power of that love, knowing that we are called to act in the ways of righteousness toward all your children. Amen.