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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Rock of Ages

Okay, I admit it, I’m a Jeopardy junkie. While I have always enjoyed the show, I became particularly enthralled with it in the months leading up to the iconic host, Alex Trebek’s passing.

Since then, I’ve been intrigued by the cadre of guest hosts who’ve appeared on the show raising nearly $3 million this year, in Trebek’s memory for charity.

A few years ago, one of the Final Jeopardy clues was, “A Christian hymn and a Jewish holiday hymn are both titled this, also the name of a 2009 Tony-nominated musical.”

The answer – “What is Rock of Ages?” prompted me to do some research on this famous hymn that I’ve enjoyed singing for as long as I can remember.

Here’s the “Story behind the Hymn Rock of Ages” courtesy of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

“Rock of Ages” is a Christian hymn written by Augustus M. Toplady, with music by Thomas Hastings. This very personal hymn uses pronouns such as “I” and “me” rather than “we” and “our”, focusing on individual salvation.

Legend says that Toplady wrote the hymn during a stormy incident in England. While traveling along the gorge in Burrington Combe, he was caught in a fierce storm and took shelter in a gap in the gorge, where he wrote the original lyrics.

While some disagree on whether the event actually occurred, the rock is now marked with a plaque that reads: “Rock of Ages: This rock derives its name from the well-known hymn written about 1762 by the Rev. A. M. Toplady who was inspired whilst sheltering in this cleft during a storm.”

I hope you enjoy the Morman Tabernacle’s arrangement of this iconic hymn.

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