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When I quoted Mark Driscoll’s statement about the offensiveness and attractiveness of the cross a couple of days ago, this song came to mind.  The lyrics (below) attempt to capture that same biblical tension between the tragedy and the beauty of the cross.

Who can look at the bloodied, beaten face of Jesus, and not feel a sense of both horror and wonder?

And who can bear knowing that He took the punishment for our sins, without a heart that’s both broken and joyful?

The brutal death of Jesus is the most heinous crime ever committed; and yet, it was the predetermined plan of God to redeem a sinner like me.  On the cross Jesus bore infinitely more than the weight of his beaten and bruised body.  He bore my sin and God’s just wrath against it.

And that is a beautiful scandal, and a wonderful tragedy.

Beautiful Scandalous Night

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

On the hillside you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Savior’s side

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree…

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by his blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night…

Miraculous night

(Words by S. Hindalong, Music by D. Daugherty)

The song has been covered by several different artists, but my favorite version is still the original, recorded in 1992 for a project entitled At the Foot of the Cross.  You can pick up a used copy of the CD on Amazon for next to nothing.