Daily Lent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Friday, April 1, Morning
By Mrs. Laura White, March 17, 1978
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
“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, 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.
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.”
UMC Hymnal #286
One of the most beloved of all the Lenten hymns is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.” The language of the hymn is intensely personal, as each believer is invited to consider the suffering of Christ for mankind’s salvation. The pictorial details of the first stanza are very graphic, almost as if the viewing of a picture of Christ on the cross prompted the poet’s words. He sadly views the grieving figure and notices the crown of thorns, the pale countenance, and the mournful expression. In the second stanza the speaker addresses this dying Christ with the realization that the pain suffered by his Savior was patiently endured even though the transgression and sin belonged to another. The third stanza turns to a note of thanksgiving and dedication, as the poet purposes his own life and love to be directed to this One whose life was freely given that man might have an access to God each day and a hope of life with Him forever.
O God, in this Lenten Season, may we also “see” our suffering Savior. May we realize that His victory over suffering has made it possible for us to experience His resurrection power in our lives today. As we receive greater insight into His suffering, may we see our sin and His provisions for salvation in the Cross.