Thirty years ago, a small group of believers began to gather for Divine Service in northern San Antonio. Today, that congregation, Crown of Life Lutheran Church, currently served by Pastor Mark Barz, will celebrate three decades of God’s grace in Christ. I am truly blessed to be a part of their fellowship. It was also my privilege to pen a hymn for our anniversary celebration, which will be during today’s Divine Service.
It’s always difficult (for me, anyway) to write a hymn that is both specific for an occasion and catholic in its confession. I’ve tried to do that. Here are a few particulars about the hymn that make it “specific” to this congregation.
1. The most obvious is the inclusion of the language of crown of life. E.g., “the King of the cross crowns us with life,” and “Lord Jesus, Your saving life of love, Crown always this congregation!”
2. The anniversary year: “In this holy place for thirty years Our Lord has bound up the broken.”
3. Directly outside our sanctuary is a very tall cross, now covered in rust, which visually proclaims the centrality of Christ crucified in this congregation. Thus, the line in the hymn: “The height of God’s golden love for us, Our tall rusted cross betokens.”
4. San Antonio is a military city. There are a large number of men and women in the congregation who do serve, or have served, in the military forces. Thus the line, “For soldiers and students, young and old, For all faithfully confessing….”
5. Finally, Crown of Life is located atop a hill, overlooking the Stone Oak area of San Antonio. Thus, “From high on this hill Your grace resound, The Good News of new creation.”
30th Anniversary Hymn
Crown of Life Lutheran Church
San Antonio, TX
Tune: Den Signede Dag (LSB #503, “O Day Full of Grace”)
"The King of the Cross Crowns Us with Life"
The King of the cross crowns us with life,
Our lips sing in exultation,
For Christ who has conquered sin and strife,
Has placed on our brow salvation.
We rise and rejoice for His rich grace,
This day of our celebration!
In this holy place for thirty years
Our Lord has bound up the broken.
To hearts racked with guilt and plagued by fears,
Forgiveness and hope He’s spoken.
The height of God’s golden love for us,
Our tall rusted cross betokens.
For shepherds who guide Your baptized fold,
For teachers Your Word professing,
For soldiers and students, young and old,
For all faithfully confessing,
We give You, O Christ, our thanks and praise,
O Source of our every blessing!
From high on this hill Your grace resound,
The Good News of new creation,
That all who in chains of death are bound,
Be freed from sin’s condemnation.
Lord Jesus, Your saving life of love,
Crown always this congregation!