Wounded

I must and shall be wounded. Why? Because my groom,
My saviour, has been found with many a bleeding wound.
But why must I be wounded? I cannot abide
If we be too unlike, the bridegroom and the bride.

~ Angelus Silesius, Cherubinischer Wandersmann V.372

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The royal banners forward go

The royal banners forward go,
The cross shines forth in mystic glow;
Where he in flesh, our flesh who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.

There whilst he hung, his precious side
By soldier’s spear was opened wide,
To cleanse us in the precious flood
Of water mingled with his blood.

Fulfilled is now what David told
In true prophetic song of old:
That Christ the heathens’ king should be,
For God is reigning from the tree.

O Tree of glory, Tree most fair,
Ordained those holy limbs to bear:
How bright in purple robe it stood,
The purple of a Saviour’s blood.

Upon its arms, like balance true,
He weighed the price for sinners due,
The price which none but he could pay,
And spoiled the spoiler of his prey.

To thee, eternal Three in One,
Let homage meet by all be done:
As by the cross thou dost restore,
So rule and guide us evermore.

~ Venantius Fortunatus, Latin poet and bishop of the Early Church, c. 600

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Bread of the World

I’ve posted this poem recently, but it bears repeating. Today is the Anglican day of commemoration for its author–Reginald Heber, poet and once bishop of Calcutta.

Heber’s poetry is sung today all over Christendom, in both high and low churches. In evangelical circles, his most famous hymn is probably “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” The imaginative Christmas carol “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning” is sung in at least two versions to four different tunes, all the way from Lutheran churches to Sacred Harp shape-note choirs in the American South. And the Eucharistic hymn below is sung in high Anglican and Catholic churches.

It seems an especially appropriate way to commemorate Heber in these days leading up to Holy Week.

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Bread of the World

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
Wine of the soul in mercy shed,
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death our sins are dead:

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
Look on the tears by sinners shed,
And be Thy feast to us the token
That by Thy grace our souls are fed.

~ Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

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Jesu, my manna be

I hunger and I thirst;
Jesu, my manna be:
Ye living waters, burst
Out of the rock for me.

Thou bruised and broken Bread,
My life-long wants supply;
As living souls are fed,
O feed me, or I die.

Thou true life-giving Vine,
Let me thy sweetness prove;
Renew my life with thine,
Refresh my soul with love.

Rough paths my feet have trod,
Since first their course began;
Feed me, thou Bread of God;
Help me, thou Son of Man.

For still the desert lies
My thirsting soul before;
O living waters, rise
Within me evermore.

~ John Samuel Bewley Monsell, Jr. (1866)

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Salve Rex

Hail to thee, King of heaven, Lord of mercy,
Thou our life, our sweetness, and our hope: Hail.
To thee we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee we sigh with mourning and weeping in this vale of sorrow.
Turn then, thou most gracious Advocate,
Turn thine eyes of mercy upon us,
And after this our exile, show thyself to us,
O merciful, O loving, O sweet Lord Jesu.

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The Price

The coin fell on my hollow hand.
I could not bear it, although it was light,
and I let it fall. It was all in vain.
The other said: “There are still twenty-nine.”

~ Jorge Borges, “Matthew XXVII:9”

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What Love?

What love is this of thine, that cannot be
In thine infinity, O Lord, confined,
Unless it in thy very person see
Infinity, and finity, conjoined?
What! Hath thy Godhead, as not satisfied,
Married our manhood, making it its bride?
Oh, matchless love! Filling Heaven to the brim!
O’er running it; all running o’er beside
This world! Nay, overflowing hell, wherein
For thine elect there rose a mighty tide,
That there our veins might through thy person bleed
To quench those flames that else would on us feed!
Oh, that thy love might over flow my heart,
To fire the same with love! For love I would.
But oh, my straitened breast! My lifeless spark!
My fireless flame! What chilly love, and cold?
In measure small? In manner chilly? See!
Lord, blow the coal, thy love inflame in me.

~ Edward Taylor, 1642-1729

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