Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

I have heard so many versions of this song…

It is a song that calls us to be there as Jesus is crucified – not to view him objectively from a distance, not to reduce the event to some grand theology of redemption or sanctification, not to view it as a story alongside Cinderella or Harry Potter – but to be a close, emotionally involved observer.

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

It is not a song to be sung beautifully by a choir. It is a song of nineteenth century African-American slaves who sung this song as an expression of their faith. Just as Jesus suffered on the cross, so Jesus understood them in their suffering. God was with them.

Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?


This spiritual calls us to be involved in the Jesus story. Jesus understands and identifies with rejection, pain and suffering; he travels with us through the hopelessness of death and a body in a grave, to resurrection, transformation and hope.

Were you there when he rose out from the tomb?
Were you there when he rose out from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when he rose out from the tomb?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: