little bit of lagniappe

reflecting on everyday grace

O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded

Today is Good Friday, and in me stirs this old, magnificent, powerful hymn, whose lyrics speak to what today means:  the horrific reality of Jesus’s suffering and death on the cross that offers and enables the hope for eternal life to come…the one that comes to us in Easter’s empty tomb.

Thanks be to God for the grace of God.

O sacred head, sore wounded,
 defiled and put to scorn;
 O kingly head surrounded
 with mocking crown of thorn:
 What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
 Can death thy bloom deflower?
 O countenance whose splendor
 the hosts of heaven adore!

 Thy beauty, long-desirèd,
 hath vanished from our sight;
 thy power is all expirèd,
 and quenched the light of light.
 Ah me! for whom thou diest,
 hide not so far thy grace:
 show me, O Love most highest,
 the brightness of thy face.

 I pray thee, Jesus, own me,
 me, Shepherd good, for thine;
 who to thy fold hast won me,
 and fed with truth divine.
 Me guilty, me refuse not,
 incline thy face to me,
 this comfort that I lose not,
 on earth to comfort thee.

 In thy most bitter passion
 my heart to share doth cry,
 with thee for my salvation
 upon the cross to die.
 Ah, keep my heart thus moved
 to stand thy cross beneath,
 to mourn thee, well-beloved,
 yet thank thee for thy death.

 My days are few, O fail not,
 with thine immortal power,
 to hold me that I quail not
 in death's most fearful hour;
 that I may fight befriended,
 and see in my last strife
 to me thine arms extended
upon the cross of life.

Words: Robert Bridges, 1899
Music: Passion Chorale (Herzlich thut mich verlangen), St. Christopher
Lyrics found on the following website:

My favorite stanza was actually not included in this version, but here it is from the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church:

What language shall I borrow?

to thank thee, dearest friend,

for this thy dying sorrow,

thy pity without end?

Oh, make me thine forever!

and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never, never,

outlive my love for thee.


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