The Old Rugged Cross

  “On a Hill Far Away”


We come to the end of Lent.  Many went to church yesterday and heard again the story of the crucifixion of Jesus on an old rugged cross.  It is a heavy service as we pray for the needs of our beloved friends, neighbors, our world and ourselves.  As a child I remember hearing many times that one of the most favorite Christian hymns was “On a Hill Far Away” also known as “The Old Rugged Cross.”  It was written by George Bennard of Albion, Michigan in 1912.  His early life was grounded in the Salvation Army and he identified with the Methodist Episcopal Church.   After a rough time in his life when he spent much time pondering his faith, he wrote,

“I saw the Christ of the cross as if I were seeing John 3:16 leave the printed page, take form and act out the meaning of redemption.  The more I contemplated these truths the more convinced I became that the cross was far more than just a religious symbol but rather the very heart of the gospel.”

The resulting hymn has been a favorite of many.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

Enjoy listening to this story summarized again in song.

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