Shouting Victory Walking Back Down

by Elias Blum


I’ve spent some time in all my years
Walking up calvary’s hill
And I’m so glad there’s a cross that I can go to
When I have a need to be filled.
The steps that I take are all worth the climb
‘Cos at the top it’s Jesus the Lamb.
He takes all my cares that I bring up to the cross
And gives me victory to carry back down.

I’ve spent alot of time at calvary
Kneeling before the Lamb.
His blood makes everything whiter than snow
When I come just as I am
And as I am walking back down calvary’s hill
My feet are not touching the ground.
For the heart that was burdened on my way up
Is shouting victory walking back down.

When I walk up the hill to calvary
The reasons are different each time.
I may need forgiveness, just to be lifted up,
Or I might need healing divine.
When I walk up the hill with my load of despair
I lay it down at the feet of the Lamb.
And the heart that was burdened on my way up
Is shouting victory walking back down.

This song might seem like an incongruous choice, especially following so close on the heels of my Good Friday reflection. The lyrics, replete with venerations of Calvary and references to the adoration of the Lamb, are almost certainly intended to be understood through the lens of an evangelical, rather than a progressive and universalist, understanding of the Gospel.

It would, of course, be possible to reconcile these apparent inconsistencies. The lyrics could, at a stretch, be made to fit into a progressive Christian mental framework. But this would miss the point. This song is not about theology, but about spiritual experience. We might try to fit it into our minds in different ways. We might use different language. We might argue all day about the exact nature of Christ, but however we frame our words and labels, the experience of coming humbly into the presence of the divine, of refreshing our spirit in the well of life, is a truly Universal, and yet strangely intimate, experience, ultimately beyond language. The words, the concepts, the modes, the expressions, all eventually slip away into nothing.

Nevertheless, as someone who encounters the divine chiefly through the narratives, ethos and imagery of the Christian tradition, the notion of ‘walking up calvary’s hill’ and ‘kneeling at the cross’ makes sense to me (even if only in a rather metaphorical, non-literal and anti-realist way). It makes sense not because I can agree with the theology of it, necessarily, but because it chimes with my experience. I’ve spent a lot of time ‘walking up calvary’s hill’, and on almost every occasion I’ve been ‘shouting victory walking back down’. There’s nothing like it. The sense of release is amazing.

Now, don’t that just make you wanna run up there to the front, get down on the ol’ fashion altar and ‘rededicate your heart to Jesus’? Don’t worry. It’s quite normal for me to be like this at the end of Holy Week. It happens every year. I’ll be back to my usual self soon enough.