Historically, this feast celebrates the finding of the “true cross” of Jesus by Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, in Jerusalem in 326. It also celebrates the return of the major part of that cross to Jerusalem in 629 by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, after it had been stolen by Chroses II, King of Persia, in 614. More than history, though, this feast celebrates the same mystery that we celebrate on Good Friday: In God’s hand, and by God’s design, even a cruel instrument of torture can become a source of life.

Music Suggestions

Choral Anthems

Music Suggestions

Numbers 21:4b–9. The bronze serpent that brought healing from snakebite to the people in the desert is an appropriate symbol of the cross of Jesus, as it is understood by Christians.

Psalm of the Day: Ps (77) 78
This historical psalm traces God’s dealings with Israel from the exodus to the early monarchy. In its interpretation of that history, the people’s sin is followed by divine punishment, which is followed in turn by national repentance, which is followed by God’s forgiveness and restoration.

Do Not Forget the Works of the Lord (Alstott)   BB
Do Not Forget the Works (Batastini/Murray)  CBW 224
Do Not Forget the Works (Batastini/Proulx)  WOR 1050/RS 104/LPGG 1055
Do Not Forget the Works (Burns) PRM A106/WS 180 / PMB 755
Do Not Forget the Works of the Lord (Guimont)   GC2 946/LPMG 638
Do Not Forget the Works of the Lord (Hunstiger)   SS
Do Not Forget the Works of the Lord (Schiavone)   JS 1061/LP 206
No Olviden las Acciones del Señor (Cortez)  FYC 221
Rise Up and Tell All Your Children   PSL A-227/SS

Philippians 2:6–11. The “kenosis” (“emptying”) hymn sings of Jesus’ self-giving for our salvation.

John 3:13–17. In conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus makes the connection between the “lifting up” of the Son of Man (on the cross) and the bronze serpents in the desert. Jesus’ mission is interpreted as one of salvation rather than condemnation.

Songs for the Liturgy

Adoramus Te, Christe (2,G)  RS 542/GC 396/GC2 400/SS
Adoramus Te, Domine (2,G)  WOR 548
All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (2)  WOR 494, 495/RS 632/GC 484/GC2 490/WC 701/JS 482/MI-BB/LMGM 88,89/GP 421/PMB 368/WS/SS
*At the Name of Jesus (2)  WOR 499/CBW 427/JS 400, 483/MI-BB/GP 424/WS
Behold, before Our Wond’ring Eyes (2,G)   JS 381/BB
Behold the Cross (1,2)   BB
Behold the Wood (1,C)   JS 411/BB/GP 369/CBW 379/GC2 437
By Your Cross (2)   JS 408/BB/GP 346
Calvary (G)  LMGM 38/RS 568/GC 419
Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation (G)  WOR 617/GC 662/GC2 642/RS 778/CBW 430/WC 746/JS 780/PMB 384/SS
Crucem Tuam/O Lord, Your Cross (2,G)  RS 571/GC 417/GC2 393
Crux Fidelis (2,G)   PMB 247/WC 751/WS
Down at the Cross (G)  LMGM 46
*Glory in the Cross (E)   JS 523/MI-BB
*God So Loved the World (G)   PMB 418/WC 803/WS
I Danced in the Morning (G)  WOR 636/MI-BB/RS 809/GC 708/WC 717/JS 764/PMB 366/WS/GP 395
*I Will Sing, I Will Sing, vss 5-6 (2) GC 543
In the Cross of Christ (2)  RS 221/GC2 436/SS
Jesus Died upon the Cross (2)  JS 654/GP 720
Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (G)  LMGM 45
*Jesus, Lord (G)  JS 701/CBW 365/MI-BB/GP 594
*Jesus the Lord (2)  RS 574/GC 418/GC2 403/CBW 432/JS 484/MI-BB/GP 370
Keep in Mind (G)   PMB 36/WC 802/MI-BB/RS 940/GC 674/GC2 658/JS 589/WS/GP 492/SS
Lift High the Cross (1,G)  WOR 704/CBW 435/GP 444/MI-BB/WC 748/RS 884/GC 791/GC2 785/JS 522/PMB 393/WS/SS
Lord Christ, When First You Came (1,G)  WOR 438
*Make Us One, v 3 (2)    PMB 392/WC 765/WS
My Song Is Love Unknown (G)  WOR 439/RS 572/JS 415
Near the Cross (1,G)   WC 755/WS
Now Go Forward (1,G)  GC 691
Now We Remain (G)  WC 640/MI-BB/RS 813/GC 694/GC2 696/WS/SS
O Cross of Christ (G)   PMB 248/CBW 368/WC 752/SS
O Crucified Messiah (2,G)   BB
Only This I Want (G)  GP 575/GC 695/GC2 701/CBW 516/JS 766/MI-BB
*Our Glory and Pride (E)   PSL A-47/SS
Priestly People/Pueblo de Reyes, vss 8-9 (1,G)   PMB 383/WC 740/WS
Sing, My Tongue, the Savior's Glory (1,G)  JS 414/BB/GP 366
Sing, My Tongue, the Song of Triumph (1,G)  WOR 437/RS 573/CBW 69
Song of the Cross (2,G)   MI-BB
Take Up Your Cross (2,G)  WOR 634/CBW 353/LMGM 50/MI-BB/RS 808/GC 698/GC2 688,690/PMB 238/WC 750/JS 524/WS/GP 586/SS
The Cross of Jesus (G)   GC2 396/SS
The Lord Is Now Exalted (1,2,G)  CBW 377
The Lord Jesus Christ (G)  CBW 436
The Love of the Lord (G)  RS 814/GC 702/GC2 680
*Then Let Us Glory in the Cross (E)   IH 84
There in God’s Garden (G)   WC 749
*Though in the Form of God (2)  CBW 687
Tree of Life (G)  RS 541/GC 397/GC2 401/CBW 373/SS
We Acclaim the Cross of Jesus (1,G)   PMB 252/WC 754/WS
*We Glory in the Cross (E)   SS
We Have No Glory (G)  JS 671/MI-BB
*We Should Glory in the Cross (E) Manalo  JS 521
Weary of All Trumpeting (G)  WOR 635
What Wondrous Love Is This (G)  WOR 600/GP 642/RS 749/GC 627/GC2 614/PMB 253/WC 713/JS 755/MI-BB/WS/SS
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (2,G)  WOR 433/CBW 382/PMB 249/WC 753/BB/JS 417
Wherever He Leads, I'll Go (G)  LMGM 50/RS 810
Wood of the Cross (1,C)   JS 407/BB

Choral Anthems

Title of Anthem, Voicing & Instrumentation Composer/arranger/editor Publisher & edition #
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Diadem  (2 part Mixed Voices, Organ, opt. Trumpet)  Johnson, Dennis R.  GIA (G-5887)  2
At the Name of Jesus (SA, Organ)  Willan, Healey  Concordia (97-7160)  2
At the Name of Jesus (SATB, Organ)  Langlais, Jean  Hinshaw (HMC 423)  2
Christ Became Obedient (SATB, opt. Keyboard/Organ, Latin only)  Anerio, Felice  Alexander Broude (ABC 32) 2
Christ Became Obedient (SATB, opt. Keyboard/Organ, Latin/English)  Anerio, Felice  GIA (G-1967)  2
Christ Humbled Himself in “We Praise Thee, Vol. 1 (2 part, Organ)  Willan, Healey  Concordia  2
Christ Jesus Lord, Thy Name Adored in “Three German Motets”  (SATB, English/German)  Praetorius, M/arr. Guentner, Francis  Augsburg (11-10089)  2
Christus factus est (SAB)  Durante, Francesko  Arista (AE 275)  2
Christus factus est (SATB)  Zingarelli, Miccolo/ed. Kaplan, A.  Lawson-Gould (51428)  2
Christus factus est (SATB, Latin only)  Bruckner, Anton   Arista (AE-157)  2
Christus factus est (SATB, opt. Keyboard/Organ, Latin only)  ed. by Barlow, Stephen   Walton (2161)  2
Christus factus est (SATB, opt. Keyboard/Organ, Latin.English)  ed. by Klein, Maynard  G. Schirmer  2
Christus factus est (SATB, opt. Keyboard/Organ, Latin.English)  Bruckner, Anton  Summy Birchard (5249)  2
Christus factus est in “Geistlich Gesang Für Männerchor” (TTBB)  Palestrina, G. P.  Oratoriumsverlag (#na)  2
Come, Follow Me (SATB, Keyboard, opt. Flute)  Thompson, R. Paul  Hinshaw Music (HMC 1391)  E
Crucifixus  Bach, J. S./ ed. Churchill  Bourne Co. (750)  2
Crucifixus from “Mass in B Minor” (SATB, Keyboard/Organ)  Bach, J. S.  Bourne Co. (750)  2
For Our Sake (SATB, Keyboard)  Hughes, S. M., Howard L.  World Library (8525)  2
Glory in the Cross (SATB, Keyboard, opt. Guitar)  Soper, Scott  GIA (G-4617)  E
Glory of Christ, The (SATB, Organ, Handbells, Brass)  Scott, K. Lee  Concordia (CPH 98-2982)  E
In nomine Jesu (SATB, Latin/English)  Handl, Jacob/Herter, J.  GIA (G-1860)  2
In nomine Jesu (TTBB) Gallus, Jacob/ed. Collins, W.  Lawson-Gould (51203)  2
In nominee Jesu (SATB)  Gallus, Jacob  Concordia (98-1051)  2
Jesus Christ Is the Lord (SATB)  Gouzes, OP, André  GIA (G4981)  2
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, Picardy (SATB, Handbells)  Ferguson, John  Augsburg (0800646681) 2
Let This Mind Be in You (SATB, Organ)  Butler, Eugene  Carl Fischer (CM 8258)  2
Lift High the Cross, CRUCIFER   (2 part mixed or SATB, Organ, opt. Trumpet)  arr. Busarow, Donald  Augsburg (0800645898)  E
Lift High the Cross, CRUCIFER   (SATB, Organ, Brass, Timpani, opt Handbells)  arr. Burkhardt, Michael  MorningStar (MSM 60-6001) E
Lift High the Cross, CRUCIFER  (SATB, Organ, Brass Sextet, Timpani)  arr. Hillert, Richard  GIA (G-2630)  E
Lift High the Cross, CRUCIFER (SAB, Organ, opt. Brass)  arr. Schalk, Carl  Concordia (98-2468)  E
Lord Jesus Christ Humbled Himself (SATB)  Messaus, Guilleimus/ed. Proulx, R.  GIA (G-3791)  2
May We Never Boast (SATB, Piano, 2 Flutes, opt. Guitar) Connolly, Michael  GIA (G-4032) E
One with God before Creation (SATB, Keyboard)  Sensmeier, Randall  GIA (G-4897)  2
Vexllia Regis Bruckner CPDL G
We Adore You, O Christ (SATB)  Proulx, Richard  Paraclete (PPM 9836)  2