Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me
Text by: Augustus Toplady
Music by: Ruth Coberly
Here is my recording of this new hymn: https://youtu.be/x9DBAYb9vuY
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Could my tears forever flow,
could my zeal no langour know,
These for sin could not atone.
In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold thee on thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
This summer, my friend Ruth Coberly shared with me her new setting of the Augustus Toplady’s hymn, Rock of Ages. She named the new tune “Vano” and dedicated the work in honor of her friend Vano Kiboko, a United Methodist evangelist, currently being held prisoner in Makala Prison in the city of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His crime: condemning the injustice of the shooting of an unarmed woman engaged in a non-violent protest last December 8th. On September 15th, Vano was sentenced to 3 years in prison for his crime. The prison he is being housed in was built to hold 2000 people, it currently houses about 8000 people. Food is only provided for 2000 and medical care is virtually non-existent. Vano has effectively been sentenced to death by starvation.
However, like the Apostle Paul, who used his extended imprisonment to preach the Gospel to fellow inmates and his jailors alike, Vano has not been idle. In the 8 months of his confinement he has not stopped proclaiming the Good News. The last count we have is that 800 men have surrendered their lives to Christ and have been baptized. And in recent weeks, Vano has been allowed to begin preaching in the women’s prison where his wife has been holding regular Bible studies. We have a report of 50 women committing their lives to God and are awaiting Baptism into the body of Christ. What Satan intended for evil, God has used as a blessing to hundreds and soon thousands. Out of the darkness of Makala Prison, a blinding light has shown forth.
This new setting of Rock of Ages has become a theme song of this budding church. A recording done by a local chamber choir in the Denver, CO area can be heard every day in the prison and the hymn is sung daily by the inmates.
Vano’s local church struggles to bring in food for an Agape feast and regular meals, and to provide whatever medical care they can. However, the poorest amongst us are wealthy beyond imagination to these people. They dream of owning a bible, we leave our sitting unopened, buried on a shelf someplace.
Vano’s efforts come from his earnest desire to be obedient, even if it means he will perish. I was humbled as I learned about Ruth’s friend and his faith in the presence of the evil one. He is feeding the lost sheep and bringing them to the Lord. Well done, good and faithful servant.