Behind the Song: Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary


This hymn was written in 1952 by Rev. John M. Moore.

Rev. John M. Moore

Rev. John M. Moore


Rev. Moore was born in Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, Scotland on September 1, 1925.  He shares that he was raised by godly parents and accepted Christ when he was sixteen years old.  He studied the ministry in Glasgow, Scotland and served several churches in the area.  Before immigrating to North America he married Esther Marr.  He is now a Baptist pastor and evangelist to a church in Ontario, Canada.

Rev. Moore is a prolific gospel hymn writer, in addition to being a minister.  However, Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary is the best known of the more than 150 songs he has written.

Rev. Moore wrote both the lyrics and music for his beloved hymn.


He tells the story of how the song was written:

I wrote ‘Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary’ after a most interesting experience. The company secretary of a large shipping firm telephoned the Seaman’s Chapel and requested that I visit a young merchant seaman who was lying critically ill in a Glasgow hospital. After getting permission from the nursing sister, I went in to visit the young sailor. I talked for a few moments and then put my hand in my case for a tract, not knowing which one I would pull out. It happened to be a tract based on ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’, with a color reproduction of Pilgrim coming to the cross with a great burden on his back. I showed the young seaman this picture and told him the story in brief, adding that Pilgrim’s experience had been my experience too. I explained that when I came to the cross of Christ, my burden rolled away and my sense of sin and guilt before God was removed. He nodded his head when I asked him, ‘Do you feel this burden on your back today?’ We prayed together and never shall I forget the smile of peace and assurance that lit up his face when he said that his burden was lifted!

Later that night, sitting by the fireside with paper and pen, I could not get the thought out of my mind–his burden is lifted! I started writing, but never for a moment did I imagine that this little hymn would become a favorite throughout the world. Since that time, I hear of people all over the world who are being blessed and saved through the singing of this hymn.”

His song continues to minister today and remind us of both the burdens of life and the burden of sin.


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