Sacred Head

I had posted this a long time ago, when few of you likely read it. It seemed timely.

Several years ago, in northwestern Zambia, I was called in to see a woman who had just arrived. She was married young, and after years of abuse, left her husband. He got high, and attacked her with an axe. 7 scalp lacerations and 4 skull fractures. I stood there in shock for a minute at this magnitude of brutality, and the words we so often utter in theory, "Jesus is the answer" became foundational and existential. What do we have to offer to someone facing so much tragedy? The words of a medieval hymn came to mind. I don't know if she found what she needed. But I do think that the sufferings of Christ still serve to console in a profound way.

Blessings to your Good Friday.

Sacred Head

O Sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame bowed down
her blood is flowing freely
and pools upon the ground
you told him you were leaving
his rage like axes fell
mercy stunned and weeping
eclipsed by the cries of hell

Five years did he beat you
five years did you die
then, one night, darkness hides you
and silently you fly
Aroused, the titan's furor
burns in hot pursuit
jagged rusty fractures
mark his bride subdued

Hands of grace come near you
wiping clean your eyes
that you might see your Saviour
so swift to hear your cries
like you, his brow is wounded
his royal head so torn
so did he cry "forsaken"
by whips and nails and thorns

So lay your head, dear daughter
resting still your chin
in the strong arms of your shepherd
cry your tears on him
find solace in his sorrow
to order terrors cease
in his love find shelter
and in his scars find peace.

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