My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, O God, will not despise.
As we begin the Lenten season today, Ash Wednesday, it is fitting that we begin with this prayer, bringing our broken and contrite hearts to God, as we remember Jesus’ journey to the cross.
The preparations for the Good Friday Blues service have been under way for a while already as we’ve worked at song selection. The service will begin with O Come and mourn with me a while, a beautiful song that dwells on the theme of brokenness.
Thel hymn was written by F.W. Faber (best known for the hymn Faith of our Fathers) in 1849 and originally had 12 stanzas! Although Faber was a Catholic, his hymns are often sung in Protestant churches. The original refrain reads “Jesus, our Love, is crucified” – it now reads “Jesus, our Lord, is crucified” – which is how we will sing it when we sing the Jars of Clay version, recorded on their album Redemption Songs.
The language of the song paint amazing word pictures.:
O break, O break hard heart of mine
My weak self-love and guilty pride
His Pilate and His Judas were
Jesus our Lord is Crucified
It’s interesting that “weak self-love” is associated with Pilate – who washed his hands of Jesus’ fate in an attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility and save face as a politician. And “guilty pride” is associated with Judas, the disciple who betrayed his friend for 30 pieces of silver and later came to regret his action so much so that he took his own life. Faber identifies his own self-love and pride in such a manner, crying for his own hard heart to be broken.
It is powerful imagery that is carried out further in the last verse: a broken heart love’s cradle is… isn’t that beautiful? The crucified Jesus, whose own heart was broken as he took on the sin of the world, also accepts and heals our broken hearts as we offer them to him.
O love of God, O sin of man
In this dread act your strength is tried
And victory remains with love
Jesus our Lord is crucified
How do you respond to this song and its message?