Tag Archives: elizabeth cecelia clephane

Scripture at Sunrise 4.9.2010

“When Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’; and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”  -John 19:30

Beneath the Cross of Jesus by Elizabeth Cecelia Clephane (1830-1869)
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 that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten 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.

Story Behind the Song
Compliments of Hymntime/Click for linkElizabeth Cecelia Clephane spent her whole life in Scotland. Daughter of a county sheriff, she grew up in the village of Melrose.  She suffered from poor health most of her life, but that didn’tkeep her from serving others.  She regularly helped the poor and those with disabilities, even selling a horse and carriage to give mroe money.  Her cheery attitude and selfless spirit earned her the nickname, “The Sunbeam of Melrose.” 

She wrote eight hymns in her lifetime, including “The Ninety and Nine.” A Presbyterian, Clephane filled her hymns with biblical images. In this hymn, she gathers various biblical examples of restoration and protection, uniting them with the benefits of the Cross.  Thus the Cross becomes a rock that offers shade to the desert traveler.  It’s a home in the wilderness, a rest stop for the exhausted wanderer. 

The “two wonders” that the author confesses in this hymn are Christ’s love and her own unworthiness.  These are common themes for Christian writers.  Even the apostle Paul suggested that someone might give his life for a good person, but marveled that God showed His love to us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

[From The One Year Book of Hymns, April 12 entry]