O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

This hymn has a simple tune set to hauntingly beautiful harmony by my favorite classical composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. I’ve seen several versions of the words, and I’m not sure which is the most authentic, so I’ll post them as I learned them. Their message of deep devotion to Christ in response to His sacrifice never fails to touch my heart.

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How art Thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that 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.

– At­trib­ut­ed to Ber­nard of Clair­vaux, 1153; trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish James W. Al­ex­and­er, 1830.

Confessing vs. Professing Christ

I’ll be honest with you: I’m a people-pleaser. I find it very difficult to speak up if I know that it might make others unhappy with me.  But I’m also a teacher and coach, responsible to communicate truth to my students.  That’s probably why I find this quote so challenging:

If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at THAT point.

– Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

This makes me ask myself: Do I ever shy away from speaking or teaching the truth because I want to avoid interpersonal conflict? Do I ever keep silent because I place the opinions and feelings of others above God’s? Sadly, I must admit that at times I do. But I also know God’s antidote for my fear, and it’s found in His word:

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
– Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)

In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?
– Psalm 56:4 (NIV)

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
– Matthew 10:28 (NIV)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
-Proverbs 9:10 (NIV)

Keynote 2007 Summer Project Report

I’m writing from Ft. Collins, CO, and starting tomorrow I will attend the biannual Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) National Staff Conference. I’m looking forward to hearing great teaching and encouraging stories of what God is doing through CCC around the world. In the meantime, I hope you will be encouraged by this story from Keynote’s summer project.

One member of Infinit Impact, LaDonna is fun, vivacious, and a great communicator with a compelling story. From stage during the band’s concerts, she told her story about a series of choices that dramatically affected her life and left her as a single mother of two.

But a few years ago, God captured her heart. She was attracted to His love, because while so many others in her life walked away, God chose to stay with her even when she ran from Him.

At our final event, LaDonna expressed what God had done in her heart over the summer:

When I gave my life to Christ, I thought it was for survival. I needed Him just to get by and exist from day to day. But after this summer, I realize that there’s something so much greater He has for me. God wants to use me to bring His love to others.

Pray for LaDonna and for the others who joined us on this project. They were able to have a great influence on people as they traveled all over the country this summer – but some of the greatest work will take place in their own lives as they take back the things they learned.

Thanks so much for your part in helping to change lives this summer!

Final Project Statistics

  • 22,000 miles traveled
  • 57 concerts
  • 5815 people exposed to the gospel
  • 1065 people lead in worship
  • 248 people indicating decisions for Christ! ( Nine of those were through our praise and worship band. That’s a first!)

Understanding and Belief

I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand: for this also I believe, that unless I believe, I will not understand.

– Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109)

Anselm was a medieval archbishop of Canterbury, and a brilliant scholar, philosopher and theologian. Among other things, he is famous for devising a logical proof for the existence of God called “the ontological argument.” Yet this highly intelligent man realized that spiritual truth cannot be grasped by reason alone. Only the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to see and enable our hearts to understand the things of God. Anselm here reminds me to yield my intellect to God, for only then will I be able to use it to its fullest capacity, as He intended it to be used.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

– 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (NIV)

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