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HYMN FOR PENTECOST 14 Take up thy cross/Korset vil jeg aldrig svike/Jesus' Cross, I'll never leave i

Text: Charles Everest (1814-1877) Tune: B. B. McKinney (1886-1952)

Get thee behind me, Peter, Jesus says. Flemish school

1 Take up thy cross, the Savior said, If thou wouldst my disciple be; Deny thyself, the world forsake, And humbly follow after me. 2 Take up thy cross; let not its weight Fill thy weak soul with vain alarm; My strength shall bear thy spirit up, And brace thine heart and nerve thine arm. 3 Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame, And let thy foolish pride rebel; Thy Lord for thee the cross endured, To save thy soul from death and hell. 4 Take up thy cross, then, in His strength, And calmly every danger brave; 'Twill guide thee to a better home, And lead to victory o'er the grave. 5 Take up thy cross and follow Him, Nor think till death to lay it down; For only he who bears the cross May hope to wear the glorious crown.


Jesus' Cross, I'll never leave it

Text: Hans Adolph Brorson (1694-1764). Tune: Norwegian folk from Lesja

Jesus’ Cross, I’ll never leave it,

For I know its blessed end,

For, to truly be a Christian,

I must bear my cross to heav’n.

Jesus welcomes all believers

Knows them all and calls them friends.

Jesus’ Cross, I’ll never leave it,

For I know its blessed end.

Though the way is dark and dreary,

Soon we’ll see the Promised Land.

Though we trudge through pain and sorrow,

They will fade in God’s tomorrow.

There our Savior shines with glory,

Where we soon with him will stand.

Though the way is dark and dreary,

Soon we’ll see the Promised Land.


It is surprising that there are so few hymns on this key passage in Jesus’ ministry. To take up one’s cross, Jesus says, is to lose oneself and gain life eternal. In other words, dying to the self and being raised in Christ so he is the one who lives in us. Peter, who hears this, will one day deny Christ not once but tree times! And then go on to be known as the first Pope!

I remember vividly a young boy in a Sunday School class I was teaching. I told him that he had received the cross in his baptism and it was on his forehead, invisible to all except the Lord. But it was there. He protested loudly. I don’t want it there, how can I get it off?

That was many years ago. I wonder if he ever struggled with that in his life and came to regard it as a gift or a curse.

Christian fleeing the City of Destruction a scene from Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan Illustration by William Blake

The boy was right in one sense. Bearing one’s cross means certain suffering and pain. In Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the pilgrim Christian on discovering in the Book of Life that he is damned, flees from his old life, his family and all, because he wants “Life, Life, Eternal life.” It is for him a death to turn from his old life, but life awaits him at the end of his journey. That is what the Gospel does to us. It kills the death in us (our own selves) and substitutes Christ, the one who was raised from the dead and will raise us. Christian's change of direction, however, does not mean it’s all happiness after that. He must suffer trouble and danger all the rest of the way. As Luther says in his Marks of the Church, suffering is the last mark of the church, after the Word, sacraments, ministry, prayer, and finally “The holy possession of the sacred cross, suffering and carrying the cross as followers of Christ.”

This does not sound like a great slogan for growth. Come to us and suffer! But as Christiana, Christian’s wife in the second part of Bunyan’s classic, says, "The bitter comes before the sweet.” We know that is true. People who sign up for a life without suffering, and try to avoid it by choosing themselves as first, have actually signed up for a world of suffering that has no end. We are promised a journey whose end is glory. There God wipes away every tear.

As both hymns make clear, we can take up our cross with joy because we know its joyful end.

HYMN INFO Charles Everest was an Episcopal rector in Connecticut. A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, he served the same parish in Hamden CT for thirty-one years. The original version of the poem was from a collection he published in 1833 Visions of Death and Other Poems. His work is almost unique in that this hymn was one of two included in the original version of Hymns Ancient and Modern 1861, the most influential English hymnal of its day.

Hans Adolph Brorson is one of Denmark's greatest hymn writers. He wrote hundreds of hymns, his best were Christmas hymns like "Your Little Ones Dear Lord are We" and his Swans Songs (1765), which he wrote on his death bed, include this hymn and many others like

Etching of Brorson in his study, looking at a Rose in his window with a cross beside him

"Behold a Host Arrayed in White." Norwegians especially loved his hymns and set them to folk hymns making them seem like Norwegian hymns. In this hymn, the cross is both Jesus' and ours.


Grace Episcopal Boulder CO

Beckenhorst Singers

Orchard Enterprises

Korset vil jeg aldrig Svike

Arild Sandvold/Organ Improvisations on Norwegian Folk Tune Korset vil jeg aldrig svike

Kåre Nordstoga Organ arrangement of tune

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