Joyful Noise
By Mark Garwood

“…But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. –Galatians 6:14

Isaac Watts was one of the greatest hymn writers ever—the “father of English hymnody. Born in England in 1674, Watts wrote over 600 hymns. Some of his most famous works include: “Am I a Soldier of the Cross,” “I Sing the Almighty Power of God,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Joy to the World.” His hymn, “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed,” inspired another great hymn writer to give her life to the Lord.

During a revival, a 30-year old blind woman heard the choir sing this hymn. As each stanza was sung, her heart was stirred. When the choir sang the final line, “Here, Lord, I give myself away, ‘tis all that I can do”, she gave herself away to the Lord as well. In her autobiography, she states that upon hearing that hymn, “her soul flooded with celestial light.” That young blind woman was Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915), who became the greatest writer of gospel songs in the past century. Crosby penned over 8500 gospel hymns. Some of her notable works include: “Blessed Assurance,” “I am thine, O Lord,” “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross,” “and “To God Be the Glory.”

“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed” appears in The United Methodist Hymnal twice: on page 294 with the Hugh Wilson tune “Martydom,” and again on page 359 with the tune “Hudson” by Ralph E. Hudson. The Hudson tune includes the “At the Cross” chorus.

Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed

Words: Isaac Watts
Chorus and Music: Ralph E. Hudson

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?

Chorus:
At the cross, at the cross
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.

Was it for crimes that I have done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! Grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut its glories in,
When God, the mighty maker, died
For his own creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While his dear cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of tears can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe.
Here, Lord, I give myself away;
‘Tis all that I can do.