When we speak of the place Calvary, the first thing that would come to our mind is that this was the place where they crucified Jesus. Basically, that’s the closest representation of the place. The Latin name, itself, bears a literal meaning: Place of Skull. But, if we dig deep into our Christian faith, we could come up with several meanings for it. Each year, hundreds and thousands of Christian pilgrims are visiting the place. This is to testify their faith in our Lord and Savior who gave His life to pay the penalty for our sin. In the Bible, the name Calvary occurs only once. This can be read only in the King James version. It says,
“And when they come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33).
There have been several gospel songs that were written about the place Calvary. Perhaps, the most popular of them is the song called “I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary” by Bill and Gloria Gaither. Now, here is another equally wonderful song about the sacred place entitled At Calvary. Below is a short story of how it was created.
Brief Writing History of the Hymn, At Calvary
William R. Newell was a pastor, teacher, and Bible expositor. One day, while he was on his way to teach one of his many Bible classes, he fell into a deep thinking of what Calvary means. Whatever thoughts he came up with, he wrote them down at the back of an envelope the moment he reached an empty classroom. Those words became the lyrics to the beloved gospel song, “At Calvary.” When he met the Director of Music, Daniel B. Towner, he asked if he could put music to the words. And, he did. In fact, he finished composing the tune at the same time Newell finished his class. They then sang the newly composed hymn together which was first published in 1895.
Join the graceful singing of “At Calvary” in the featured video below.
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At Calvary, Daniel B. Towner, William R. Newell