8 Songs of the Cross for Lent and beyond

Which ever way you look at it, there is no getting away from the fact that our journey of faith will, at some point, lead us to the Cross. It is the price our our reconciliation, and God’s ultimate act of mercy.

It’s good to have a few key songs in the repertoire that help to draw us more deeply into the mystery of the Cross, especially during Lent and on Good Friday. There is also the wonderful feast of the Triumph of the Cross celebrated on 14th September.

Here’s a shortlist of eight favourites (in alphabetical order) that have a firm place in our own repertoire:

1. At the Cross – Reuben Morgan & Darlene Zschech (Hillsong)

This is the kind of heart-felt worship song that the music ministry of Hillsong Australia has become well-known for. It captures both the essence of bowing before the Cross in veneration, while also acclaiming the victory and triumph of the sacrifice.

“At the cross I bow my knee
where your blood was shed for me
there’s no greater love than this…”

LISTEN: At the Cross (audio sample)

  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com.
  Lyrics and song info on Worshiptogether.com
  Available on iTunes


2. At the Foot of The Cross – Kathryn Scott

Northern Irish song-writer Kathryn Scott has coupled a beautiful lilting melody with wonderfully evocative and moving text. This song invites us to “kiss the feet of mercy” as we lay all our burdens down at the foot of the cross.

“At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me your love
Through the judgement you received”

LISTEN: At the Foot of the Cross (audio sample)

  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com.
  Lyrics and song info on Praischarts.com
  Available on iTunes


3. The Cross Stands  – Worship Central

This uplifting anthem is probably better suited to the feast of the Triumph of the Cross (14th September) than Good Friday. With a little sensitivity in the arrangement though, it would certainly be possible to sing this powerful acclamation of the power of the cross more reflectively.

It’s worth noting that the published key of Bb major is probably a bit too high for your average congregation. Much more comfortable in F major or G.

“The cross stands above it all,
burning bright in this life.
The cross towers over it all.”

LISTEN: The Cross Stands (audio sample)

  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com.
  Lyrics and song info on Worshiptogether.com
  Available on iTunes


4. Jesus Christ, Once Again – Matt Redman

It’s probably fair to say this song is something of a classic and there was probably a time in its life-cycle when it was a bit “over-sung”.  After a season of over-singing, a song can fall out of use for a while. Eventually though, this kind of comfortably familiarity gives a collective memory and resonance to a song. In the right context that can be very powerful.

“And once again I look upon
the cross where you died;
I’m humbled by your mercy
and I’m broken inside… “

LISTEN: Jesus Christ, Once Again (audio sample)

  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com.
  Lyrics and song info on Worshiptogether.com
  Available on iTunes


5. Lord by Your Cross And Resurrection – Chris Rolinson

Officially titled Saviour of the World’, this song started life as a setting of a pre-revised translation Memorial Acclamation. It is recorded on the Boyce & Stanley album Before the Lord.  It is anthemic and worshipful in equal measure.

Over the years, this has become the official song for the epilogue of our Born for This presentation. Sung by cast and congregation with with full-voice and fill hearts after an emotional journey through the Stations of the Cross. It’s hard to find a more perfect way to capture that moment in so few words.

“Lord, by your cross and Resurrection
you set us free.
You are the Saviour of the world.”


  Sheet music is available in Rejoice n Sing Digital Songbook.
  Recorded on the album Before the Lord
  Available on iTunes


6. Song of the Cross (Love Lifted)

We don’t often use this song in its entirety. The chorus alone is a wonderful acclamation that we’ve used on many an occasion, along with spoken prayer or Scripture verses to create a meditation on the cross.

“Love lifted on the cross for me;
My Lord, my God, my salvation…”

LISTEN: Song of the Cross (audio sample)

  Sheet music and song info is available from ocp.org
  Available on iTunes


7. Thank You For The Cross – Brian Doerksen & Kathryn Scott

This lively song of thanksgiving is recorded on Kathryn Scott’s album I Belong. It may be a touch too upbeat for Good Friday. But there are many other times through Lent, and throughout the Liturgical year, when it can be the perfect response to remembering the salvation that was won for us by the sacrifice of the cross.

“Though we chose sin’s separation
You already had a plan
To reconcile your children
through the cross…”

LISTEN: Thank You For the Cross (audio sample)

  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com.
  Lyrics and song info on Praischarts.com
  Available on iTunes


8. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

This familiar text by Isaac Watts is traditionally sung to the hymn tune ‘Rockingham’. Most of the time, though, we use the Celtic melody ‘O Waly Waly. The hymn tune is beautiful, or course. But there is something about the soaring lilt of the folk tune that brings the text to life in a special way.

“When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.”


  Sheet music is available from Musicnotes.com
  Recorded on the album Age to Age Vol. 2 ~ The Journey Continues
  Available on iTunes


This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. But if your repertoire is a bit thin on the ground, and you’re still mostly singing ‘Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, then this list is a great place to start.

As St Paul writes; “..the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” {1 Cor 1:18}  And it’s definitely worth singing about.

What would you add to this shortlist? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below…