Last night I was reading a story online about the Ethiopian martyrs when the song Lift High the Cross came up in my playlist. I was moved to tears at the juxtaposition. Truly the Ethiopian martyrs, the Kenyan martyrs, the Egyptian martyrs – and the hundreds if not thousands of martyrs whose names we do not know and whose stories we never hear, have lifted high the Cross of Jesus in their lives and in their deaths.
They showed themselves to be true “servants of the crucified” – faithful unto death, willing to die rather than deny the name of Christ.
Here are the full lyrics coutesy of the Oremus hymnal
Lift high the cross,
the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore
his sacred Name.
Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod,
our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. Refrain
Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Refrain
Each newborn soldier [servant] of the Crucified* (many versions now replace soldier with servant)
bears on the brow the seal of him who died. Refrain
This is the sign which Satan’s legions fear
and angels veil their faces to revere. Refrain
Saved by this Cross whereon their Lord was slain,
the sons of Adam their lost home regain. Refrain
From north and south, from east and west they raise
in growing unison their songs of praise. Refrain
O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. Refrain
Let every race and every language tell
of him who saves our souls from death and hell. Refrain
From farthest regions let their homage bring,
and on his Cross adore their Savior King. Refrain
Set up thy throne, that earth’s despair may cease
beneath the shadow of its healing peace. Refrain
For thy blest Cross which doth for all atone
creation’s praises rise before thy throne. Refrain
May many more followers of Christ be raised up through the testimony of those who were willing to die for Christ, imitating the way of His cross in their deaths. May God work in the hearts of those ISIS members who were there on the beach or in the desert applauding these deaths. May He raise up many Pauls among them to proclaim the faith they once attempted to annihilate and the Lord whom they scorned.
Please keep praying for the martyrs’ families and the church in Ethiopia. May those grieving be comforted and strengthened at knowing their loved ones did not shrink from death, and are now receiving honor in heaven.
And pray for ISIS members to encounter the Risen Christ, that they might become His faithful servants too.