Christ is our Redeemer
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with the bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by.
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down, now scornfully surrounded with thorns Thine only crown; how pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish which once was bright as morn!
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 to Thee.
attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)
A profoundly personal and awesome vision
Although Bernard was one of the most influential Christians of the Middle Ages, settling disputes between kings and influencing the selection of popes, he remained a devout monk, single-minded in his devotion to Christ.
In his own day Bernard was known as a preacher and churchman; today he is remembered for his hymns of praise. “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” comes from a poem originally having seven sections, each focusing on a wounded part of the crucified Savior’s body — His feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and head. The text of this hymn compels us to gaze at the cross until the depth of God’s love overwhelms us. Bernard’s hymn pictures God’s love, not as an abstract theological statement, but as a profoundly personal and awesome vision of the suffering Christ.
Our Holy Week readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for March 28.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House