King of My Life – Lead Me to calvary


Lead me to Calvary

Words: Jennie Evelyn Hussey (b. Feb. 8, 1874; d. Sept. 5:1958)
Music: William James Kirkpatrick (b. Feb. 27, 1838; Sept. 20, 1921)

  (1) King of my life I crown Thee now-

Thine shall the glory be;

Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,

Lead me to Calvary.

      

CHORUS: Lest I forget Gethsemane,

Lest I forget Thine agony,

Lest I forget Thy love for me,

Lead me to Calvary.

      

(2) Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,

Tenderly mourned and wept;

Angels in robes of light arrayed

Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.

      

(3) Let me like Mary, through the gloom,

Come with a gift to Thee;

Show to me now the empty tomb-

Lead me to Calvary.

      

(4) May I be willing, Lord, to bear

Daily my cross for Thee;

Even Thy cup of grief to share-

Thou hast borne all for me.

 

This is a twentieth century gospel hymn, having been published in 1921. The text was written by Jennie Evelyn Hussey a life-long Quaker.   And if you’ve ever tried going through a hymnbook looking for a song that starts with the letter “K” you will understand the challenge. Thank God for Miss Hussey who solved our problem with “King of my life I crown Thee now.”

Jennie Hussey’s life was solitary and difficult. She spent hours each day caring for an invalid sister, and also battled with painful, crippling arthritis. Much of her life was a time of hardship and suffering, especially due to a sick sister.  Yet Jennie maintained a bright, cheerful and courageous attitude through it all.  In all, she wrote approximately 150 hymn texts.

Her family, going back many generations, had been Quakers (members of the Society of Friends). But Jennie chose to identify with the Baptists. When she requested believer’s baptism at First Baptist Church, in Concord, New Hampshire, she said to the pastor, “I’ve spent much of my life hidden away in the country, and I’d like to have the opportunity, before God takes me home, to tell everybody, ‘I love Jesus.’”

One way Jennie did that is through the many hymns she wrote. And this particular one seemed to grow itself, in an unusual way. One day, when the painful trial of her arthritis was almost beyond endurance, she prayed, “Please, Lord, make me willing to bear my cross daily, without complaining, because You bore Yours for me.” She then wrotet down that prayer in lines of verse that would later become  stanza 4 of our hymn:

May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou hast borne all for me.

It is interesting that this hymn did not start with the first stanza as we know it today. It actually started with stanza number four (4) as a prayer to endure the arthritis pain Jennie was undergoing. In the next few days, Jennie added  stanza 2 and 3, about the garden tomb, and about Mary Magdalene’s visit to the tomb on resurrection morning. “May I be willing…show me…let me…” It was only after composing these stanzas of petition and humble submission that Jennie Hussey added the triumphant opening stanza of personal commitment:

The Lord Jesus spoke to His followers about cross-bearing many times (as described in Stanza-4). In fact, the first reference to the cross in the New Testament (Matt. 10:38) concerns, not the cross of Jesus, but the cross of those who believe on Him. The last reference to the cross (the cross of Christ, in this case) is instructive as to its spiritual meaning:

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

Here we see the Saviour’s determination to do the will of His heavenly Father, in spite of the terrible cost, looking forward to the blessings that lay ahead. Think of how that applies to us.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk. 9:23-24; cf. Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mk. 8:34; 10:21; Lk. 14:27).

The believers of that day were all too familiar with the cruel form of execution used by the Romans. It was the practice to have a condemned criminal take up his cross and carry it to the place of execution. It identified him to the passing throng as a law-breaker.

For Christians to metaphorically take up the cross, in the sense Jesus uses the expression, means we will openly identify ourselves as followers of Christ, committing ourselves with what someone called “devoted abandonment” to live for Him, whatever the cost.

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