‘O Sacred Head, Now Wounded’

The Ao Naga are a tribal group in northeastern India. They were converted to Christianity in the late 1870s. This is the Ao Naga Choir with the Passion hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.”

“O Sacred Head” is a very old Latin hymn traditionally attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. However (I’m disappointed to learn) it’s now generally attributed to a 13th Century poet named Arnulf of Leuven (whose name suggests Norman ancestry).

Arrangement by J. S. Bach.

I love this hymn. For Lutherans (and, of course, for many others) Christocentricity is the chief test of theology. If Jesus isn’t the Center, then it’s wrong.

Through all history, people have sought the secret of the universe. Christians declare that the secret is not an equation, not a formula, not a hidden talisman or precious stone or treasure, but a Person. When you get to the end of all questions, when you draw back the final curtain of the universe, you find Personality.

And of course, we always knew this was right. All our great stories declared that the King must save his people; the Father must save his child; the Prince must save the princess. The answer is Someone.

A blessed Good Friday and Easter to you.

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