top of page
  • Pastor Ralph

Beneath the Cross

Easter is an emotional time for me – especially Good Friday. It is a time packed with memories of worship, with my family, and personal reflection. One of my favourite hymns associated with Good Friday is “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.” It was written by young Scottish women, Elizabeth Cecilia Douglas Clephane (1830-1869); she was born Edinburgh but grew up in Melrose, Scotland, in the area of Abbotsford.

Her father was a county sheriff and her mother a descendant of the famous Douglas family. Elizabeth was one of three sisters but she suffered with what, at the time, was described as “physical frailties.” Even despite her limitations, she and her sisters served the poor and sick of her community. Elizabeth was affectionately known in her community as “The Sunbeam.” She enjoyed writing poems and had several published in a Scottish Presbyterian Magazine called the ‘Family Treasury. ’ However, the majority of these poems appeared anonymously in this magazine in 1872, three years after her death at age 39.

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” was written by Elizabeth in 1868, one year before she passed away. It was not published until 1872, when it appeared anonymously in the ‘Family Treasury’ with several of her other poems. The original poem consisted of five stanzas but today, only three are used in most hymnals. Her hymns are filled with Biblical symbolism and imagery.

I want to share her hymn this week, with you, because it is a hymn that has touched me over the years and continues to today. I have vivid memories of us singing this hymn, every Good Friday, in our little church and the affect it had on us as worshippers. It is a solemn and victorious hymn that portrays, for us, the ongoing victory, security and comfort we have in the cross of Jesus Christ. The hymn continues to help us reflect on what the agape love of God is all about. Let us cherish it words once again…

Beneath the cross of Jesus

I fain would take my stand,

the shadow of a mighty Rock

within a weary land;

a home within the wilderness,

a rest upon the way,

from the burning of the noontide heat

and the burden of the day.

Upon the cross of Jesus

mine eye at times can see

the very dying form of One

who suffered there for me:

and from my stricken heart with tears

two wonders I confess,

the wonders of redeeming love

and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow

for my abiding place:

I ask no other sunshine

than the sunshine of his face;

content to let the world go by,

to know no gain nor loss;

my sinful self my only shame,

my glory all the cross.

May this Easter draw us to the cross and then to the empty grave; may it be a time where we once again experience the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The events of Easter changed human history forever. We have been set free. Let us rejoice! Let us rejoice!

Have a great Easter and see you Good Friday.

In His love

– Pastor Ralph

80 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page