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Were You There When They Crucified My Lord Hymn Story and Lyrics

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord is one of the most famous Negro spirituals. It has been sung by Christians all over the world. I cannot remember a time when I did not know this song. It is that famous in some parts of the world.

This is a song that reminds us of the crucifixion, the laying of Jesus's body in the tomb and the resurrection. The writer makes these events fresh and new in our minds by asking the question "Were you there?".  You are therefore taken in song to Golgotha where you see Christ crucified with the two thieves.

The part of the song that gives me goose pimples is the repetition of the word, tremble. How can you not tremble when you remember those nails that pierced His hands and feet. As you see him suffering because of our sins.

Every time I listen to this song the line "Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble" always makes me visualize the crucifixion of Christ our Lord.

You can almost see him on that old rugged cross in indescribable pain. The cross was an instrument of torture. People were nailed to the cross to make them suffer first and foremost.

Death was just the climax. Death just meant that the show is over. I am told that people took days to die.

I can visualize Christ feeling pain in his arms and trying to rise up to relieve the pain only to increase the pain in the feet. It was up and down like for all people crucified on the cross.

The cross was not pretty if you think about it. It was torture at its worst. I am told that crucifixion was not a Jewish invention. It was the Romans who introduced it in Palestine and they got this form of torture from the Carthaginians.

Therefore as you think about this song I ask you to meditate upon the words of this song. The more you meditate about this song the more your Christian experience would be enriched.

Appreciation of what happened on the cross will help you go through your own life's trials.

As I am writing right now we are in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and thousands are dying daily and we are all afraid. As we go through this difficult time may we realize that he who died on the cross for us still cares for us and he suffers with us.

Who Composed Were You There When They Crucified My Lord


No one knows exactly who composed this song. It is however accepted knowledge that this song was composed by enslaved African Americans in the 19th century.

William Eleazar Barton is the first one to publish this song. He included it in his 1899's Old Plantation Hymns. 

As it became more "mainstream" it started appearing in various church hymns. The first major hymnal to include this song was the Episcopal Church hymnal which included it in its 1940 version.

Lyrics of Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?


Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nail'd him to the cross? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they nail'd him to the cross?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they nail'd him to the cross?

Were you there when they pierced him in the side? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they pierced him in the side?

Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (Were you there?)
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?
O sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord Chords


Below are the chords of this beautiful hymn/spiritual.

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord Chords
For more songs and lyrics please visit here.

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