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The Old Rugged Cross

big wooden cross on green grass field under the white clouds

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George Bennard was born February 4th, 1973, in a coal mining town of Youngstown, Ohio. He aspired to be a Christian evangelist, but his father died so he stayed and supported his mother and sister.

Later he became involved with the Salvation Army and then an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Bennard died on October 10, 1958, at 85 years old.

When he was 40 years old during some spiritual struggle, he spent long hours in study, prayer, and meditation. He became convinced the cross was far more than just a religious symbol, but rather the very heart of the Gospel.

It says in Philippians 2:8,

“And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even death of the cross.”

Notice, God humbles Himself, not emptied. Father God humbled Himself to behold His creation (Psalm 113:6). Jesus humbled Himself to become His creation in likeness of man (Philippians 2:6-8). The Spirit humbled Himself to be in His creation in the Church (Ephesians 1:13).

In Christ, by His grace, God became humble to give grace to those who were not humble. Our life in Christ is humbling ourselves and reckoning ourselves dead for others.

Christ could only die if He was a man, and He could only die for our sins if He was God.

So yes, the cross is much, much more than a religious symbol. So, as you sing “The Old Rugged Cross,” remember how it speaks of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross as a glorious and cherished event.

As for this writer, I especially like the 4th stanza.

“To the old, rugged cross I will ever be true, it’s shame and reproach gladly bear.

Then He’ll call me some-day to my home far a-way, where His glo-ry for-ev-er I’ll share.”

Chorus:

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,______ Till my tro-phies at last I lay down.

I will cling to the old rugged cross,______ And exchange it some-day for a crown.”

Sing as unto the Lord (Psalm 104:31-35).

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