When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
The lines above are the verses to Isaac Watts’ When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, written in 1707. He was 33 – the same age many scholars set as Jesus’ age at his crucifixion. These lines are so important for a Christian culture that races through Holy Week to get to the glory of Easter. The glory of Easter IS the glory of Easter because of the amazing redemptive gift of God in the Son’s sacrifice. Certainly, it is right and good to celebrate the victory of Jesus. But Watts provides a vitally important and gracefully exacting aspect through which we should receive this gift. His words highlight humility, vulnerability, unworthiness, ignorance, and appreciation – qualities of character we all too often see as weak, undesirable or pathetic.
Yet, Jesus gave all for us, regardless. We so often remain ignorant of our responsibility to be kind, generous, forgiving and loving. We lack appreciation for the many blessings that we receive. We take for granted and feel entitled to everything good we receive; and we feel so ill-treated if and when hardship arrives. We think much more of ourselves than we do of others, and we work so hard to maintain our illusions of control and mastery. And still, Jesus goes to the cross for us.
As you awaken to the good news (gospel) and glad tidings of the empty tomb; as you set aside your rational arguments and disbelief; as you encounter in your own special way the resurrected Lord, remember. Remember a Savior who gave all. Remember a God who never gives up. Remember a grace that defeats sin and separation. Remember to be a little more like Jesus with every person you encounter. Remember – God is love.
Grace and Peace,
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).