Jesus I my cross have taken is one of the many x-hundred year old hymns that have been given a new lease of life by overhauling the music it is set to. In the case of this hymn, the music has been reworked by Bill Moore and can be found here. However, the original words are still quite dated. For instance, one of the later verses end with the line ‘child of heaven, canst thou repine?’ Repine? What the heck is that?! I have been asking people for nearly 9 months now (since I first heard the new arrangement) and still haven’t met anyone who knows what that word means.
So, I have set about updating the words (I seem to have a habit of doing things like this) but in such a way that the original sense or meaning is not lost or diluted. Here are my updated words, and I hope the prove useful and uplifting for you and your church.
Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow you.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
From here on my all is you.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.
Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Saviour, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
You are not, like them, untrue.
O while you now smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends may disown me,
Show your face and all is bright.
Man may trouble and distress me,
It will drive me to your breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
It is not in vain they harm me
While your love is left to me;
It is not in joy to charm me,
If that joy is without thee.
Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain;
In your service, pain is pleasure,
With your favour, loss is gain.
I have called you Abba Father,
I have fixed my heart on thee.
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.
Know, then, of your full salvation,
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within us,
Think what Father draws us near,
Think that Jesus died to win us,
Child of heaven, do not fear.
Haste me on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before me,
God’s own hand shall guide me there.
Soon shall close our earthly mission,
Soon shall pass our pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.
Original words by Henry Lyte, revised by Alan Witchalls.
Music by Bill Moore. © 2001 Bill Moore Music.