#8 — O Dearest Jesus (CW 117)

I’m not sure I can add much to the Lenten hymns that I’m about to add to the list. I’ve already noted those classic themes common to most Lutheran lenten hymns.

  1. "It is my sins for which you Lord must languish"
  2. "To do your will shall be my sole endeavor"

This morning I started listening to one of my favorite recordings—J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion. I particularly love the way these hymns weave in and out of the passion narrative. Herzliebster Jesu is one of the hymns that he uses. Like I said, I’m not sure I can really add anything.

O dearest Jesus, what law have you broken
That such sharp sentence should on you be spoken?
Of what great crime have you to make confession—
What dark transgression?

They crown your head with thorns, they smite, they scourge you;
With cruel mockings to the cross they urge you;
They give you gall to drink, they still decry you;
They crucify you.

Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which you, Lord, must languish;
Yes, all that wrath, the woe that you inherit,
This I do merit.

What punishment so strange is suffered yonder!
The Shepherd dies for sheep that loved to wander;
The Master pays the debt his servants owe him,
Who would not know him.

The sinless Son of God must die in sadness;
The sinful child of man may live in gladness;
We forfeited our lives, yet are aquitted—
God is committed!

I’ll think upon your mercy without ceasing,
That earth’s vain joys to me no more be pleasing;
To do your will shall be my chief endeavor
Henceforth forever.

And when, dear Lord, before your throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,
Where sweetest hymns your saints forever raise you,
I too shall praise you.

1 thought on “#8 — O Dearest Jesus (CW 117)”

  1. Nothing better than listening to St. Matthew’s Passion at this time of year. I also love the way Bach wove the great Lutheran hymns into this work as the choruses.
    A verse from Herzliebster Jesu is part of the liturgy of the Hungarian Lutheran church, and so is sung almost every week, year round. This, I think, is the way it should be. This hymn is such a wonderful, powerful summary of God’s plan for our salvation. We shouldn’t exile it to Lent.
    BTW Pastor, some of your Missouri Synod readers are probably elsewhere these days. The synod canceled the “Issues, etc.” show yesterday (probably because it is too confessional) and fired the host and producer without explanation. A horrible, horrible thing. LCMS blogdom is in open revolt.

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