Rock of Ages has through the years had a special attachment to me, even from my ages past to this very day. For some reason, I’m not really sure why or how, this hymn has been one that is very close to me. This hymn speaks to me, as I pray we all may have such a blessing.
The melody just carries me along, and the words carry the message of God’s Redeeming love. You will find this loving message most especially in the reading of the fourth verse: “While I draw this fleeting breath, when my eyelids close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”
Some have believed that the message of this hymn comes from the book of Exodus 33 which carries the experience Moses had with the Lord God while leading the people through the wilderness? Moses had found favor, now he dared to asked, “Show me your glory, I pray” v. 18. “But the Lord said, you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live” v. 20. God went on to say, “While my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock.” v. 22.
I have truly enjoyed singing this hymn, at least to myself, from my early years on to the present. I do remember that this theophany occurred in my life during the time I had spent trying to nurture my spiritual growth. I was at the age when we were asked to join the confirmation class held in our church, Bethel Lutheran Church. Our minister, Rev. Emil Westland was the teacher. In the course he gave us the assignment that each of us was to pick a favorite hymn and then we will share it in our class time. Even as a pre-teen this hymn “Rock of Ages” seemed to touch me with its tune and living message. Though at the time and even now, I’m not sure why, except the words speak of God as a Rock who would be a safe place to build my life upon.
The message of this glorious hymn fills us with the love of God the Father. Sung with the fullness of faith from within our heart and soul, God will hide us from all danger. The message is now given us, the assurance that we will be saved in the redemption of Christ. Wonderful God, “Cleanse from guilt and make me pure,” and use my life as an example for all who may be lost and searching.
O Lord God, you have given us The Perfect One, Jesus the Christ, to set us free from our sin. “Wash me, Savior, or I die.” For it is in His Name we pray. Amen.