Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Calvary…..The Place Where Burdens Are Lifted!

My teenage Sundays in a Banffshire village of Scotland in the ‘swinging 60s’ were unremarkable. Every week I attended the morning service and the evening Gospel meeting in the local Gospel Hall where my father was the main preacher/teacher.

For me the evening meeting was where the action was. Between 30 and 40 souls attended; women and men from pretty poor circumstances. We sang the great hymns and songs from ‘The Redemption Hymnal’, accompanied by my grandmother on a creaking old harmonium.  My father preached a gospel message which always contained down to earth practical applications.

I often wondered how he managed to run a business and prepare two sermons per week…every week.

Faithfulness to the cause of Christ was however rewarded. Through my parents’ personal testimony and witness in that small village, some very unlikely people came to Christ. Preaching and living the Gospel is what the church is called to do.

A favourite hymn of mine from that time is ‘Burdens are Lifted at Calvary’. The words and music were written in 1952 by John M Moore. It was prompted by an experience that he had while, Assistant Superintendent of the Seaman's chapel in Glasgow. Called to visit a critically ill seaman in hospital, Moore gave the individual a tract based on Pilgrim’s Progress. Through conversation about the Pilgrim’s burden, the man trusted Christ and later Moore wrote the Hymn.


Days are filled with sorrow and care,

Hearts are lonely and drear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Jesus is very near.



Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Calvary, Calvary,

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Jesus is very near.


Cast your care on Jesus today,

Leave your worry and fear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary,

Jesus is very near.


Troubled soul, the Saviour can see,

Ev’ry heartache and tear;

Burdens are lifted at Calvary

Jesus is very near.

Half a century later Scotland’s evangelical community has changed, and I suppose that many of today’s more ‘hip’ leaders would regard such songs as mawkish and sentimental. Nevertheless, the lyrics reflect the great truths of the Gospel centred on the cross, redemption, salvation and most crucially, the conviction of sin and the need for true repentance.

Let’s pray that in the rush to become ‘seeker friendly’, and develop that ‘belonging before believing’ environment, we stay true to the first sentence the Lord Jesus uttered in His public ministry: ‘‘Repent and believe the gospel”.


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