Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hast in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied Thee:
I crucified Thee.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered,
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For man's atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
Text: Johann Heermann, 1585-1647; trans. by Robert S. Bridges, 1844-1930
Music: Johann Cruger, 1598-1662
Tune: HERZLIEBSTER JESU, Meter: 11 11 11.5
This is my favorite hymn for Passiontide. The tune is solemn and reverent, and the words are brutally honest. The second verse is so powerful that sometimes it's difficult for me to sing. The fact is, Christ died because of my sins, and because of yours-- there's no point in hedging around it, and there's only glorious gain in acknowledging it.
Please pray for me and all other church musicians as we begin celebrating the Triduum tomorrow! My prayers are with you all.