When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” was our opening hymn on Sunday.  The hymn always takes me back to the night, while out for a walk, I heard a Lenten caroler.  This is not the first time I’ve told this story.

Every year in Marshfield, Wi. a community chorus put on a Palm Sunday concert at Our Lady of Peace.  “When I Survey” …was the yearly theme song for the concert.  We lived near OLP and Columbus High School.

  I was walking one evening enjoying the crisp air and the snow glistening as crystals reflected the street lights.  Suddenly drifting across the snow came a tenor voice singing, “When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died.”  Soon the voice would fade until another snippet would reach my ears, “Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast save in the death of Christ, my God.”

I picked up my pace trying to catch sight of the singer.  Soon again another snip of the tenor voice, “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?”  But I never caught up with the voice.  Apparently, his evening constitutional ended and soon I headed back to Arlington street myself.

But that evening walk with the diamond studded snow and the tenor voice, now more than 30 years ago, remains fresh in my memory.

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