"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
By James Merritt
1. Off the coast of South China, on a high hill overlooking the harbor of Macao, is a huge wall. This wall is the only thing that remains from a massive cathedral that Portuguese settlers built on that hill hundreds of years ago.
2. A typhoon hit that cathedral, literally reducing it to ruins. Everything except this front wall was totally leveled. High on top of that wall stands a huge bronze cross.
3. In 1825 Sir John Bowring was sailing a ship off this same coast when a terrible storm hit, breaking his ship apart and throwing him into the water. He was holding on to a board for dear life thinking he was going to be pickled in that China sea, believing that all had been lost, including his own life, when all of a sudden, through the storm, he caught sight of this bronze cross atop this cathedral wall. In that moment God spoke to him, and he knew in his heart that his life would be spared and that God would deliver him, and he was miraculously rescued.
4. John Bowring was so moved by how God had spared his life that he wrote a poem that years later was put to music, and for over a hundred and fifty years God's people have sung this song over and over:
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.1
5. That song could have been Paul's theme song. Paul had much that he could have boasted about. In his day he was the church's greatest preacher, greatest missionary, greatest apologist, greatest theologian, a prolific author who wrote more books than anyone else in the Bible, almost one-half of the New Testament.
6. Furthermore, he was a religious thoroughbred, a full-blooded ci ...
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