Today is Ash Wednesday. For those of you who don’t know, Ash Wednesday always falls 46 days before Easter. We all know that Easter is on a different day every year, but did you know that Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon which happens after March 21? If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter will be the following Sunday. Just a bit of liturgical trivia for you this morning.
I love the season of Lent. It is my favorite time of year to sing in church. I know that many seem a bit on the strange side since so many people love the Christmas hymns, but give me a Lenten hymn any day. Lenten hymns remind of us of our sinfulness and our lack of ability to do anything about it. The hymns remind us of the suffering and passion of the Lamb who did it all for us.
I thought for the season of Lent, I would share with you some of my favorite hymns. Many of them I have memorized. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do in school, but I am sure thankful for it now.
(Side note. If you are looking for memory work for your children, you can’t go wrong with hymns. Sometimes when I am sad, I pray the hymns, and because they are in my memory I have them with me always. When mom was very sick, I was able to sing them to her, and she found comfort there. Contemporary music will never replace my beloved hymns.)
This week’s hymn was written by Johann Heerman in 1630 and was translated by the amazing Catherine Winkworth for us. It has 15 verses. I am not going to write them all for you, but I am sure you can find them all with a quick internet search.
photo credit: Markus Biehal
O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken
O dearest Jesus, what law hast thou broken
That such sharp sentence should on Thee be spoken?
Of what great crimes hast Thou to make confession-
What dark transgression?
They crown Thy head with thorns, they smite, they scourge Thee
With cruel mocking to the cross they urge Thee;
They give Thee gall to drink, they still decry Thee;
They crucify Thee.
Whence come these sorrows, whence this mortal anguish?
It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish;
Yea, all the wrath, the woe, Thou dost 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.
And when, dear Lord, before Thy throne in heaven
To me the crown of joy at last is given,
Where sweetest hymns Thy saints forever raise Thee,
I, too, shall praise Thee.