welcome to the hike!

Working out the call!

I currently living in Millersburg or as God whispered in me ear four years ago in PA, "the land of my Fathers!" MILLERS - burg! OK! The best way to describe my life of late, is simply "Pastor-at-Large" I live "outside the box" of our usual expectation of life, family, employment and even culture. I live, breathe, and weave around a four county area as a local missionary and have learned of so many supportive faith communities. I meet people who contact me where they are in their 'hike 'o life."

The hats I wear are that of Life Coach, Writer, Speaker, Retreat Facilitator, Pastoral Supply, Prayer Counselor and well, whatever God calls on me to do (I actually get paid to do all of these things, which is awesome, unless you are helping me with my books!) I also work to "tent-make my mission work" as a church secretary for a sweet fellowship pastored by one of my favorite seminary prof's.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? Stay tuned! The goals are big and staying solvent month by month is a huge victory, but as I see my own heart and others hearts change and grow in my daily walk, I realize, I am not working for treasures on earth....I have direct deposit above. Guess that's a pretty sweet ride! Lacing up my hiking boots...on the hike o' life!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded

Surely He has borne our griefs
      And carried our sorrows;
      Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
      Smitten by God, and afflicted.
        But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53: 4-5 (NJKV)


Looking at the images of Christ on the Cross was just so painful for me that I opted for an image of a crown of thorns instead.  Isn't that how the suffering of Lent is.  We know it's necessary, but we remind ourselves that we are resurrection people. While we are - PRAISE GOD!  We still cannot fully celebrate the resurrection until we understand the sacrifice that purchased our right to be His...

Our HYMN THIS WEEK personifies what that means...

About the WORDS

"O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" is based on a long medieval poem  attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, (1091-1153),   some new evidence though points to Arnulf of Louvain, (died 1250).

This poem talks about Christ's body, as he suffered and hung on the cross. It has seven sections, each addressing a part of Jesus' body-his feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, and head. Our hymn is a translation of the seventh section 'Salve caput crucentatum', focused on Jesus' head.

An intensely personal hymn, "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" acknowledges the pain and shame that Christ endured when he paid the price for our sin. The poet cries out "I joy to call Thee mine." And we join the poet as we each confess "Mine, mine was the transgression." We go on to sing, "Lo here I fall my Savior" as we fall prostrate, knowing the price of our salvation, and the pain with which it was paid.

Language fails us as we accept this gift of salvation: The words we know aren't adequate to describe Jesus' sacrifice. But in the final stanza, we declare our heart's desire, asking God to uphold us that we may, to the very end of our days, always live full of gratefulness and love for our blessed Savior.

This hymn was first translated from Latin to German by Paul Gerhardt, a prolific Lutheran hymnist in 1656. It was later translated from German to English and there are many versions and many verses.  A Lutheran hymn site listed 10 verses.  Our choir today sings only three.

About the TUNE


The hymn tune PASSION CHORALE was originally set to a love song, "Mein Gmuth ist mir verwiret" ("My heart is distracted by a gentle maid"), in Hans Leo Hassler's Lustgarten Neuer Deutscher Gesang, 1601.

PASSION CHORALE first appeared as a hymn tune in the third edition of Harmoniae Sacrae (Gorlitz, 1613), set to "Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen." In 1656, Paul Gerhardt st the verses to  Passion Chorale in his German translation of "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" for the first time. This arrangement was published in Cruger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1656, and has been associated with the German and English translations ever since.

J. S. Bach used the PASSION CHORALE melody extensively in his work, including it five times in St. Matthew's Passion, twice in the Christmas Oratorio, and also using it in five cantatas and an organ setting of his Miscellaneous Preludes. Johannes Brahms also used organ settings this tune among his eleven chorale preludes.

An interesting note on this tune, it is said that Frederick William I, King of Prussia, requested in his will that a band play PASSION CHORALE at his funeral.

As you hear this wonderfully skilled choir sing this classic Lenten Hymn - I would suggest that it is indeed a LOVE SONG as Passion Chorale was originally intended to be!  The words appear below.

Sometimes I choose a clip for the images.  There are many renderings of this hymn on YouTube, but I choose this one simply because of the strong organ and the incredible blending of voices.  You may want to ponder the words or simply close your eyes and listen as the choir sings.

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 thou, my Lord, has 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.

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.

Some Devotional thoughts on O Sacred Head Now Wounded

It's a season of heavy feelings, when we consider the weight of our sin and the wonder of God's grace.
When he wrote the poetry to "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" hundreds of years ago, Bernard of Clairvaux experienced these same feelings. His words create a stirring picture of Jesus, head bowed and bloody under the crown of thorns that is cutting into his flesh. But even more stirring is his heartfelt confession that "Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain."

In our busy world, it's so easy to be caught up in the cares and concerns of this life worrying about finances, trying to get our work done, keeping up with family and friends. But with the words of this week's hymn, our attention will be pulled back to the thing that matters most: Jesus' sacrificial death. Even on our busiest days, may we never forget to thank him for this act of love.

In the weeks ahead, consider the words to "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" and remember Jesus' suffering anew. His torture was our triumph. His sorrow was our salvation. And in response to Christ's astounding sacrifice, we must echo the sentiments of our timeless hymn "O make me Thine forever; And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never, Outlive my love for Thee."

Lord - In this Lenten Journey we pray that we would realize the depth of YOUR LOVE and the depth of YOUR SUFFERING all for our sake and we ask again
that YOUR LOVE would be shining in the life of __________ today. 

You suffered and died for us, while we are sinners,
so that we could be covered with YOUR GLORY
and spend eternity with YOU.

Give us words to praise you THIS DAY.


Much Thanks to the Center For Church Music

For all the information on this Hymn.

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