Geoffrey Bingham: ‘O Cross of Christ, O place of bliss’

Crucifixion

1. O Cross of Christ, O place of bliss,
Of man’s invective traitor’s kiss,
Of sin and shame, of wounds and fear,
O Cross of pain you call us near.
The world cannot escape Your Cross,
Its mind reject fore’er the loss,
The darkness of the limbo dread
From which You cried for us—the dead!

We cannot know the pain You bore,
Nor ever live the anguish sore
That tore that holy cry of shame
From hellish depths of dreadful pain.
In You the ancient evil met
The modern guilt, th’eternal debt,
The wrath of God, the curse of law,
The separation evermore.

2. The wounds that sin in us had wrought—
Unholy sickness that we caught
From evil’s madness, from the womb,
That led us to eternal doom—
These, these were there upon You laid,
You wounded were by wounds we made,
Our wounds were Yours upon the Tree,
That we into Your wounds may flee.

In You the sins of all the race
Distorted body, mind and face,
Until You seemed as man no more,
Destroyed—as Man—for evermore.
O Holy One, You suffered much
To free us from the doomful clutch
Of sin and Satan, wrath and law,
And liberate us evermore.

3. Sometimes when all the world’s asleep,
Sometimes when terror’s passions deep
Come stealing to us from their grave—
Those sins from which He came to save
Our race of doom and dreadful death—
We cry as though our latest breath
Had come at last, and we are lost,
Upon guilt’s storm forever tossed.

But grace comes throbbing through that night,
And sin’s forgiven, and holy light
Breaks to us from Your Cross and Tomb
As You come to our upper room.
O Christ now risen from the grave,
You gave Yourself ourselves to save,
And all the pains of memory
Are banished in that holy Tree.

4. The shame of guilt cannot return,
Nor fire of curse within us burn.
You sin and guilt and curse became
To save us from eternal shame.
Our spirits in Your Cross rejoice,
And with us all creation’s voice
Is lifted in the highest praise
For love and grace and all Your ways.

O Cross of Christ, O place of bliss,
Of man’s invective, traitor’s kiss,
Of sin and shame, of wounds and fear,
O Cross of pain and love so dear,
We praise our God for love that gave
As Son to die, as Son to save.
We lift our songs, our hearts adore
And worship You for evermore.

Geoffrey C. Bingham, 1994

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