We sing a lot of hymns at Redeemer Fellowship. Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed? is one of them. It was written by Isaac Watts in the 18th centiry, and bears the stamp of his theology. It is a rich, beautiful, cross-centered hymn. However, a refrain was written for the hymn over 100 years later that, in my estimation, does not fit. If you are a baptist, you know it well. The refrain is, At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!
Yeah, we don't sing that part. It's not all bad, and I'm not normally one of those guys who like to pick apart hymns for taking some creative license. At least I don't think I am. And, I think you can explain what I don't like about the refrain in a way that makes it usable, but that last line coupled with the change in melody during the refrain bothers me. When we sing the hymn at our church we sing it without the refrain, and our the band does an amazing job with the arrangement. It's one of my favorites.
Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head For sinners such as I?
Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine— And bathed in its own blood— While the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood.
Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin.
Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears, Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of love I owe: Here, Lord, I give my self away ’Tis all that I can do.
We sang this today along with How Great Thou Art, Our God, Psalm 3/How Many Are My Fears, The Glory of the Cross, and May Your Power Rest on Me.
What are you guys singing? Modern stuff? Classics? Both? Do you write your own stuff? Share in the comments.