w/m - Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan, William Batchelder Bradbury
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus' Name
Christ alone cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior's love
Through the storm He is Lord
Lord of all
When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil
When He shall come with trumpet sound
Oh may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne
I once made the joke, introducing the hymn, “The Solid Rock”, saying that someone had taken “Cornerstone” and written a better melody for it. Not all new rewrites of old hymn melodies are a bad thing. Personally, I love what Casting Crowns did with “At Calvary” as the old melody was really dated and didn’t fit the lyrics all that well.
However, the original melody for “The Solid Rock” is fantastic. Yes, it is not “contemporary”, and that could be why it was changed, but the problem is that the melody for Cornerstone is pretty forgettable. If I hummed the first few bars of the song, you’d have a hard time differentiating it from 100 other Hillsong offerings. On the other hand, if I hummed even the first line of the original melody, anyone familiar with it would immediately know what it is. THAT’S a good melody. While the verse is just okay, the chorus melody has no energy or character at all. They try to rescue it with the ever popular “Octave jump” to make it build, but let’s be honest, that’s the tool of someone who doesn’t know how to construct a moving melody that builds on its own.
I don’t mean to be down on the song though, as clearly the great lyrics rescue it and make it a favorite. While the melody is not my cup of tea, I do recognize that it has brought this song to a new generation, and for that I am glad.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. One of my favorite first lines of a song is a new one called “Jesus is Mine” that says, “Fade, fade, each earthly joy; Jesus is mine”. Our hope is not in the things of this world, even the things we enjoy. Our family is not our hope. Our friends are not our hope. Our material blessings are not our hope. Even the world has those. It is the blood of Jesus alone that saves and gives us hope.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus' Name. This line speaks of all those fragile, temporal and earthly things that we put our hope and trust in. Perhaps the word “Frame” is referring to our own earthly bodies that we, in our flesh, trust in so often. Either way, the focus is on the name, and consequently, the work of Jesus alone.
Christ alone – Cornerstone. Luke 20:17 speaks of this prophecy of Christ saying, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Paul says in Ephesians 2 that the church, the household of God, is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.”
Weak made strong in the Savior's love. Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all. Our weakness is not just in that we have aches and pains when we get out of bed each morning or that our bodies are in a constant state of decay. The real meaning here is that we are weak because we are fallen. We are encased in flesh that draws us away from God and even “The strength to follow Your commands could never come from me.” Jesus is Lord over all… over every single atom in this universe. Our weakness and His power could not be further opposites.
When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil. There are times when we don’t understand God’s plan in this world, and looking at His grace in our lives and in the pages of Holy Scriptures, we can gain comfort. The anchor is not of our own making. If it were, it would not hold. It is when Christ is our anchor that we are safe and secure.
When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless stand before the throne. On the last day, when we are called home as the church, we will be ushered into eternal glory because of a righteousness not from within ourselves. It will be Christ’s righteousness that will be our ticket to heaven. We will rule and reign with Him for eternity, not because we never faltered, but because He is the Solid Rock… the Cornerstone.
Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for over 30 years and is based in Westminster, MD. His family tours and leads worship around the country. Bill and his family attend Belcroft Bible Church in Bowie, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.