The Old Rugged Cross lights the way

By Lucy N. Adams | Aug 28, 2013
Photo by: Marie Metcalf photo

The cross at Lake Junaluska has a beautiful history that is treasured. It was to be only a summer blessing when it was dedicated on July 10, 1922.

But the Southern Railway employees had a special request. Could it be lighted each night throughout the whole year because of the inspiration it gave to them as they traveled through this area.

Their request was granted and the rest is history. Thousands have been blessed because of its presence each day and especially each night when the lights come on.

The awesome image of Jesus being crucified on the cross of Calvary could be heartbreaking, but we know the power of the resurrection.

Suffering and death is over. All praise to our God because Jesus Christ is alive! That is why the composer of this wonderful old hymn, wrote these words, “I will cherish the old rugged cross.”

Composer, George Bennard was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1873. He moved with his family to Iowa. While in his teens his father died and he became the sole support of his mother and younger sisters.

More education was impossible, but he gained his theological knowledge through his association with ministers and by his own disciplined study.

When Bennard married he and his wife became Salvation Army workers and he was a brigade leader of the corps.

Although he wrote more than 300 gospel songs throughout his ministry, he is remembered for this one special hymn he wrote in 1913.

“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.

Chorus:  So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, ‘Til my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”

In the “One Year Book of Hymns,” we read George Bennard’s own words: “The inspiration came to me one day in 1913 when I was staying in Albion, Michigan. I began to write and completed the melody first.

The words that I first wrote were imperfect.  The words of the finished hymn were put into my heart in answer to my own need.  Shortly thereafter it was introduced at special evangelistic meetings.”

Through the years, thousands of people have sat at the base of the cross at Lake Junaluska and renewed their commitment to the Lord.

Some have even given their lives, for the first time, to the one who died over two thousand years ago on the old rugged cross.

Let us never lose sight of the purpose of the death of Jesus. One of my favorite Bible verses is from the first letter of Peter, Chapter 2 verse 24.

“He bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins,  we might  live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

Praise God for that old rugged cross that led to the tomb and to the glory of resurrection.

Comments (4)
Posted by: carolyn mull | Feb 16, 2015 06:04

This is beautiful description of the cross and what it stands for!  I love the song " The Old Rugged Cross".  It says it all!! Thanks for sharing this with the readers.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 16, 2015 10:41

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.


2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.


Apparently there are those who cannot pay attention to their own religious "Commandments".



Posted by: Allen Alsbrooks | Feb 16, 2015 14:26

Keep in mind they only choose to follow the parts they like. It also tells them to keep "sabbath" but they continue to observe "resurrection day" in total defiance. And don't get me started on the cannabalistic symbolism if their "communion" ritual.

Posted by: Charles Zimmerman | Feb 17, 2015 10:01

        I stopped taking part in the "cannibalistic" nonsense at about 14. Thought it was a sick perversion. I don't do symbolism either. Or dogma.

        But as a farmer I had to care for the critters24/7. My experience is that for some reason, more critters are conceived and/or born on Sunday that any other day. Especially if there is company involved. Had relatives from Florida visit N.Indiana years ago. In the barn lot south of the house the bull was having a threeway and several other cows were themselves engaged in homosexual behavior, so we went to the North side of the house to look at the rose bush and the several boars were taking care of business as well. The horrified relatives grabbed their kids and ran never to visit again.



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