Many pianists wanted to play The Old Rugged Cross because it is a beautiful hymn. However, playing it in hymn style does not do the song justice. To create beautiful arrangements, I play the hymn in country style. I also add runs and fillers in between verses as ornaments. My left hand plays octaves to create a thicker harmony. My arrangements of the hymn can be played solo or as an accompaniment during church services.
Download and print The Old Rugged Cross Sheet Music.
In 1912, The Old Rugged Cross became popular among the Christian community. This hymn was written by George Bennard, a Methodist evangelist and song-leader.
The Old Rugged Cross spoke of George Bennard’s experience as an evangelist. The Bible verses that inspired him to write this hymn are Galatians 6:14, 2 Corinthians 1:5, 1 Corinthians 1:23, and Hebrews 13:12-13. The hymn was Bennard’s reflection on what it meant by sharing Christ’s sufferings and the cross as a symbol of suffering and shame. Though Christians experience many sufferings as the consequence of following Christ, we rejoice in the hope that Jesus Christ will return and we will be crowned in glory because of His righteousness.
- On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
- Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
- In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
- To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.
Essentials of Great Hymn Arrangement