When I Survey {New Recording}

When I Survey {New Recording}

by Anna Ferraro | April 10, 2020

It’s Good Friday today. When I was young, I was confused by its name. Wasn’t Good Friday one of the darkest days in history — when Christ the Lord was cruelly crucified to a cross, bearing the sins of the world?

So why is it “Good?” Today, I smile through tears as I reflect — Good Friday is good. 

It’s good because on that day, Christ’s death marked the beginning of our life. 

Every human — myself included — deserves to die for our sins. On Good Friday, Christ paid the price for us. This humbles me to my knees. I deserve death and destruction. And yet, in the gift of eternal life in Christ, I live. 

In 1707, Isaac Watts,  the “Father of English Hymnody,” published one of his greatest hymns — “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

This Good Friday, this song is on my heart and mind. 

“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…”

And not just today. Last year, during my trip to Europe, I recorded over a dozen songs for a Christian Radio station in Switzerland. “When I Survey” was one of first the songs I recorded — in a fresh improvisation that was given two or three takes in the studio very late one night. 

[To listen to the track, click here].

The song continues… 

“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God! 
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood…”

Watt’s theology of Good Friday squelches any boasting I can have in anything I’ve done — the gift of salvation is a true gift — given, not earned. Gifts that are given glorify the Giver alone. In this stanza, Watts’ echoed Apostle Paul: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). 

And as I think, Watts’ continues:

“See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

I’m overwhelmed by His love — His mercy — His grace. In Christ, all of that is mine. So what should my response be? 

Again, Watts’ says it perfectly, in words that have stood the test of centuries: 

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

I hope that as you meditate on the lyrics through this music, you draw near to Christ, His cross, and the fellowship of His sufferings on this Good Friday.

[To listen to the track, click here].


Piano by Anna Ferraro / Recording and sound engineering by Courtney Gilbert

[Picture courtesy of freepic.com]