Avis B. Christiansen, 1895–1985
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left. (Luke 23:33)
A Hill with Three Crosses—
One cross where a thief died IN SIN
One cross where a thief died TO SIN
A center cross where a Redeemer died FOR SIN
It is thought that the day we call “Good Friday” originated from the term “God’s Friday”—the day that Christ was led to the hill of Golgotha and crucified, assuring an eternal reconciliation for lost man. The Roman cross, intended to be an instrument of cruel death, instead became an instrument of new life and hope for the human race. God loved and valued each of us so highly that He was willing to pay the greatest price imaginable for our salvation.
The composer of this hymn, Harry Dixon Loes, was a popular music teacher at the Moody Bible Institute from 1939 until his death in 1965. One day while listening to a sermon on the subject of Christ’s atonement entitled “Blessed Redeemer,” Mr. Loes was inspired to compose this tune. He then sent the melody with the suggested title to Mrs. Christiansen, a friend for many years, asking her to write the text. The completed hymn first appeared in the hymnal Songs of Redemption in 1920.
Mrs. Avis Christiansen is to be ranked as one of the important gospel hymn writers of the 20th century. She has written hundreds of gospel hymn texts as well as several volumes of published poems. Throughout her long lifetime of 90 years, Mrs. Christiansen collaborated with many well-known gospel musicians to contribute several other choice hymns to our hymnals, including “Blessed Calvary” and “I Know I’ll See Jesus Some Day.”
Up Calv’ry’s mountain, one dreadful morn, walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn; facing for sinners death on the cross, that He might save them from endless loss.
“Father, forgive them!” thus did He pray, e’en while His life-blood flowed fast away; praying for sinners while in such woe—no one but Jesus ever loved so.
O how I love Him, Savior and Friend! How can my praises ever find end! Thru years unnumbered on heaven’s shore, my tongue shall praise Him forevermore.
Chorus: Blessed Redeemer, precious Redeemer! Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree, wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading—blind and unheeding—dying for me!
For Today: Matthew 27:39–43; John 19:17, 18, 33, 34; Colossians 2:13–20
Since Christ has paid the price of our redemption in full, all we have to do is believe, receive, rejoice and represent Him. Reflect on this musical truth—