Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Art: O Sacred Head Now Wounded

In honor of Holy Week, I'm sharing one of my favorite hymns of all time. From J.S. Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, here is the Lenten hymn, "O Sacred Head Now Wounded," performed by the Choir of King's College. The German hymnist Paul Gerhardt is credited with its composition, "O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden," originally. It's based on a poem written by Bernard of Clairvaux in the 11th century, and is still sung on Good Friday in churches all over world. I've pasted the complete text below in English, as translated by Hans Leo Hassler. It brings to me tears every time, whether sung or read. Enjoy.
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.

How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy face now languish that once was bright as morn.
Grim death with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
thus Thou has hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength, in this sad strife.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinner's 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, and grant to me Thy grace.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O Source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love.
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heav'nly joys above.

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.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, O leave me not alone,
but take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own.

Be Thou my consolation, my shield, when I must die.
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfold Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from
the 5th verse of "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Lord, let me never -------> 5 count inhale
outlive my love for Thee." -------> 5 count exhale
The Lamb
Andrew King

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