“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
Each Sunday is an opportunity for the community to gather and remember we are among that Jerusalem crowd calling out the name of Jesus. Some seek healing, or at least the hope that what God has done in the past might happen again, now. Some question whether there is anything we can really believe about Jesus. Some sing hosannas to signal confidence in all that Jesus is doing in the world, even today. All of our worship occurs in the shadow of this crowd.
Shadows are produced when something comes between a ray of light and a surface. The crowd comes between the light of God’s glory and the surface of our longing for God’s love. The refrain of our hymn moves us from near the cross to the place where glory resides—in the cross. May the detour to Jerusalem reveal for us the scenes in our lives that bring us from the shadow of the crowds to the shadow of the cross.
God of the weary traveler, open my eyes that I might recognize the shadows as signs that your light shines in all the places of my life. Move me from skeptic and seeker to one who stands among the saints whose lives find rest in the cross. Amen.