“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
In our hymn verse today, we again meet the abundant generosity of our crucified God through the images of “a precious fountain” and “a healing stream” flowing freely to all without discrimination. Hymnist Fanny Crosby, often called the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers,” wrote more than 9,000 hymns and hundreds of other lyrics and poems across many genres.
In this first verse, we speak personally to Jesus himself in prayer, beseeching him, “Keep me near the cross.” For Fanny Crosby, to be “near the cross” of Jesus is simultaneously to be “near the cross” both hidden and manifest in the lived experience of the most vulnerable people within her own field of attention.
As you go about your day, how might you, with the eyes of Fanny Crosby, see the nearness of the cross of Jesus existing deeply in the crosses of your neighbors’ lives?
Come, Holy Spirit, give us eyes to see that the cross of Jesus is likewise the cross of the most vulnerable among us, and of all of us in our vulnerabilities. Amen.