Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rock of Ages

The hymn "Rock of Ages" was written in 1763 by Augustus Montague Toplady, a Calvinist preacher in England. Tradition would have us believe Rev. Toplady wrote this timeless classic as he sought refuge from a storm in the cleft between two boulders. Tradition would also have us believe that he scribbled the words on a playing card, but what a Calvinist preacher would be doing with a playing card in his pocket, I can't guess. So, take the legend for that it's worth.

It's a nice story nonetheless, and one of the most beautiful prayers of hope and helplessness I've ever heard. Here's Ella Fitzgerald singing two verses of "Rock of Ages."
Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 62:6
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"God alone is my rock; -------> 5 count inhale
I shall not be shaken." -------> 5 count exhale
Here's the full text. Really very, very lovely.
Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy Law's demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die!

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyelids close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment-throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!

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