Hymn Story

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Hymn lists

by book of Bible

Isaac Watts was a very bright preacher’s kid who grew up in England.  At that time, music in the church consisted primarily of crude adaptations of the Psalms — poorly written and poorly sung.  When Watts complained to his father about the music, his father invited him to write something better.  Watts did so, composing his first hymn that very night.  During his lifetime, he wrote hundreds of hymns, many of which are among our favorites yet today — hymns such as Joy to the World and O God, Our Help in Ages Past.

One of his finest hymns is “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” written originally as a communion hymn.  It focuses on the cross of Christ, and calls us to devoted discipleship in response to Christ’s love.  “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

— Copyright 2006, Richard Niell Donovan