Reflection and Salvation: “At Calvary”
Solemn and reflective, "At Calvary" by Daniel B. Towner and William R. Newell gives us a moment to pause and recognize the sacrifice Jesus Christ our Saviour has done for all humankind.
The word "calvary" has a special meaning to Christians, more so as it is the site where Jesus was crucified. It was the place where Jesus Christ performed the ultimate sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. Calvary, as a word, evokes an emotion of sadness, reflection but also a forlorn joy for the selfless sacrifice Jesus Christ the Saviour made for all.
This is the theme of the hymn "At Calvary". William R. Newell wrote this hymn and Daniel B. Towner set the music. The hymn was published in 1895, and its Scripture reference is Luke 23:33.
The hymn includes 5 stanzas, with one refrain. The first three lines of every stanza are usual verses. However, all the last lines in the verses contain a preposition with the word "calvary". After the last line, the verse gives way to the chorus until the whole hymn is over. The hymn is set in the first-person point of view.
The first stanza tells about the believers' former life, filled with "vanity and pride". This "vanity and pride" clouds the believer's mind and ignoring the greatest sacrifice the Saviour has given. Meanwhile, the second stanza shows a change of heart by the believer using the Word of God. The third stanza speaks of surrendering all things to Jesus Christ with acceptance and proclamation of Him as the King. The last verse is focused on the gift of salvation that God planned for humankind. With the last verse, there is a note of joy for this plan. The refrain verse focuses on God's mercy and grace given as part of Jesus' sacrifice and salvation of humankind. It also attributes how grace and mercy are given as a form of pardon and salvation from sin.
"At Calvary" is a short, simple but powerful reminder of the Ultimate Sacrifice and how people can achieve eternal life by merely embracing and acknowledging this truth.