Wednesday, September 27, 2023

O sacred head, now wounded

141 Passion Chorale. 7. 6. 7. 6. D.

1 O sacred Head, now wounded,
   with grief and shame weighed down,
   now scornfully surrounded
   with thorns, Thine only crown.
   O sacred Head, what glory,
   what bliss till now was Thine!
   Yet, though despised and gory,
   I joy to call Thee mine.

2 What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered
   was all for sinners' gain;
   mine, mine was the transgression,
   but Thine the deadly pain.
   Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
   'Tis I deserve Thy place;
   look on me with Thy favor,
   vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

3 What language shall I borrow
   to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
   for this, Thy dying sorrow,
   Thy pity without end?
   O make me Thine forever!
   And should I fainting be,
   Lord, let me never, never
   outlive my love for Thee.
                         Authorship uncertain
                         Tr. by Paul Gerhardt
                         Tr. by James W. Alexander
                         The Methodist Hymnal 1939 edition

<idle musing>
I've always liked this hymn, especially the third verse, the final lines:

   And should I fainting be,
   Lord, let me never, never
   outlive my love for Thee.

Far from being a depressing thought, I find it an encouragement, because I know that the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit is so strong that I can't help but fall deeper in love with him. adds a fourth verse, which I don't recall seeing before:

4 Be near when I am dying,
   O show Thy cross to me!
   And, for my succor flying,
   come, Lord, to set me free:
   these eyes, new faith receiving,
   from Thee shall never move;
   for he who dies believing
   dies safely in Thy love.
They also note that some attribute the hymn to Bernard of Clairvaux and others to Arnulf, Abbot of Villers-la-Ville, about whom they have no information.
</idle musing>

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