Faith Through Words


O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

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.

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

Lyricist:  Bernard of Clairvaux
Composers:  “Passion Chorale” by Hans Leo Hassler, harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach

Vouchsafe to me Thy grace. In old world tongue, through familiar musical strains, Jesus’ compassion is conveyed.  To vouchsafe, to furnish His favor of faith, to grant pardon of my guilt and replace it with grace.


Jesus’ Holy, perfect head.  Born into humankind’s dilemma, never practicing sin’s deadly path yet willingly walking the Via Dolorosa dirge. Listening through Maundy Thursday grief, bent head, sorrowing soul, sin’s weight known in His washing of feet, breaking of bread, pouring of wine – all stark symbols of how He lived, what He taught, how He loved, the way He would die.  Sacrificial washing, breaking, pouring embodied in perfection.  Soon scourged, beaten, barbed in thorns under the Good Friday weight of every shame and guilt; nailed through holy sinew, sinless soul.


Vouchsafe to me Thy grace. An enfolding of my ugliness, sin-born brutally to forgiveness.  Never deserved pain, favor unfolded by outstretched hands, pounded feet, slain side, blood-stained soil.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,

For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?

No language but the Word made flesh can be borrowed to vouchsafe His grace.  Pity that paid my pardon in His final breath.  In His dying “It is finished” cry.  So that Resurrection Sunday “Peace be with you” would testify.  Breath of heaven breathed over His beloveds.


“That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31


Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.  Grace pristine in Kingly form.  Grace humiliated beyond reason.  Grace extended in “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Grace known in “surely this man was the Son of God!” Grace greater than all my sins. Grace greater than all sins then, now, and ever. Grace forever, freed in Him.




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