Christ of the Rugged Cross

Upon an Eastern Hill
Three lonely crosses stood
Grim silhouettes against the sky,
Three nailed to rough-hewn wood.
Salvation, repentance and rejection
Symbolised forever there
Love divine, mankind embracing
In sacrifice beyond compare.

Nature trembling at the sight
Men's hearts are filled with dread
Betrayed, rejected and forsaken,
The `Son of Man' lay dead
Those who had cried `Barabbas'!
In the darkness cried with fear,
But on Golgotha's silent hill
A centurion standing near,
Had heard his solemn cry
And wonderingly
In incredulous surprise
Proclaimed His Majesty.

Within an earthly tomb
The World's Redeemer lay
Whilst stalwart Roman soldiers
Kept watch by night and day;
Till the victor o'er the grave
Triumphant o'er his foes
In fulfilment of his prophesy
The 'Son of Man' arose!

Nigh on two thousand years
Have rolled from Calvary's hill
But Redemptions rugged cross
Stands forth ...triumphant still!
Pagan throats have screamed their hatred
As Christian flesh made vicious sport;
Men have perished at the stake
To spread the Truth He taught;
Prison walls and persecution
Have taken human toll;
Beneath the Radiant Cross
Rests many a martyred soul!

In the shelter of the cross
Countless millions stand
The sign of Him who came
Is known in every land
Men take His name upon them
And strive to do His will
Seek His help in danger's hour
Yet oft when all is still
Forget Him as they daily build,
Upon materialistic sands,
Successive man-made structures
Of many creeds and brands,
Unmindful of the purpose
For which He gave them breath
To build on Earth the Kingdom
Of him who conquered Death!

'Christ of the Rugged Cross'
Man has need of Thee today
Beset by troubles, manifold
He cannot see his way
One by one his well-meant plans
Like candles in the night
Are snuffed by the winds of fear
And apathy companion of his plight
Dims his vision, so that he
Uncertain of the night,
Stumble blindly in the darkness
Searching for the guiding light!
`Christ of the Rugged Cross'
Restore Man's hope to see
The Radiant Cross that points the way
Of all men ...such as we.

Whakatane. April 6th 1947

Poems Index