The Cinch Review

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

Sincere wishes for nearness-to-God to all those who have been celebrating holy days this week, both Passover and Holy Week. Unusually, both Christians of the western churches and the eastern Orthodox ones are celebrating Easter simultaneously this year, and aligned with the Jewish Passover. In theory, it should always be like this, but different ways of establishing the religious calendars have intervened. A strange week it’s been, then, of alignments, blood moons, and the like.

One of my own favorite hymns to hear during this season is “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” with the old German melody by Hans Leo Hassler (which was appropriated by Paul Simon for his “American Tune”). It seems surprisingly difficult to find a really fine version on YouTube that combines instrumentalists and vocalists, but one such, quite beautiful and simple, is embedded below.

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.