We were just children from the children’s church and it was to be our first presentation at the Good Friday service of the song “The Old Rugged Cross”.
We had the rough wooden cross standing in front of the church hall at the speaker’s platform, and as we entered the church hall from the back we came in a queue – Chinese, Indians, Americans, Filipinos, Eurasians – children representing the nations of the world – each carrying a crown.
I was the first to lead in the procession towards the cross, as I sang the first verse of the hymn The Old Rugged Cross
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross
The emblem of suffering and shame
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
Then all joined in the chorus as we proceeded
So I’ll (we’ll) cherish the old rugged cross
Till my (our) trophies at last I (we) lay down
I (We) will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a(our) crown(s).
A little boy and a girl upon reaching the cross knelt to cling to the foot of the cross,
while the rest of us lay our crowns at the foot of the cross and knelt before it
and sang the chorus once again from our hearts as only children could, who had been simply explained the penalty of sin and the precious love of God shown to us as He became our Saviour.
It was a very simple presentation which has stayed with me all through these 50 over years. It was poignant for it was the first time I was faced with the cruel death He suffered for me. As we knelt at the foot of the cross the reality of the pain He suffered became real and there for the first time I felt sorry for my sins. What love drove Him there I thought, what deed so wrong could have nailed Him to the cross?
Since that day there have been many Good Fridays and a memorable one of them was less than ten years ago, when ten auditors (of different non-Christian religions including an atheist) from several Asia Pacific countries, visited Singapore for a conference and were persuaded to view the film The Passion of the Christ. For all, it was the first time they were confronted with the love of Christ. Two from separate communist countries stayed for our Easter service and in public “accepted” the Lord as Saviour. One is till today a staunch follower of Christ for the pain and suffering he has personally undergone since he became a Christian. The other could not stand the heat of persecution at home from parents who could not approve his conversion and had to move out of his home. He continues to unobtrusively serve the Lord in his workplace. Praise the Lord for His love shown on the cross.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown.
May you too cherish the old rugged cross and His love shed abroad in your heart.
P.S. Voice of Martyrs is producing “Jesus He lived among us” – please pray for its completion and translation into 12 languages, as a tool for evangelism and encouragement to the persecuted.
It tells of Jesus’ story from the viewpoint of John, His disciple.
For more information refer to –