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Healing in the Wounds of Christ

March 18th, 2010
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I’m intrigued by this great old Lutheran classic Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing and its striking use of the suffering and death of Christ as a weapon against the temptations of the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh. Have you noticed the same thing about it?

“Jesus, Grant that Balm and Healing”
By Johann Heermann, 1585-1647

1. Jesus, grant that balm and healing
In Thy holy wounds I find,
Every hour that I am feeling
Pains of body and of mind.
Should some evil thought within
Tempt my treacherous heart to sin,
Show the peril, and from sinning
Keep me ere its first beginning.

2. Should some lust or sharp temptation
Prove too strong for flesh and blood,
Let me think upon Thy Passion,
And the breach is soon made good.
Or should Satan press me hard,
Let me then be on my guard,
Saying, “Christ for me was wounded,”
That the Tempter flee confounded.

3. If the world my heart entices
On the broad and easy road
With it mirth and luring voices,
Let me think upon the load
Thou didst carry and endure
That I flee all thoughts impure,
Banishing each wild emotion,
Calm and blest in my devotion.

4. Every wound that pains or grieves me,
By Thy stripes, Lord is made whole;
When I’m faint, Thy Cross revives me,
Granting new life to my soul.
Yea, Thy comfort renders sweet
Every bitter cup I meet;
For Thy all-atoning Passion
Has procured my soul’s salvation.

5. O my God, my Rock and Tower,
Grant that in Thy death I trust,
Knowing Death has lost his power
Since Thou trod’st him in the dust.
Savior, let Thine agony
Ever help and comfort me;
When I die, be my Protection,
Light and Life and Resurrection.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #144
Text: 1 Pet. 2: 24
Author: Johann Heermann, 1644, ab.
Translated by: composite
Titled: “Jesu, deine tiefen Wunden”
Composer: Johnann B. Koenig, 1738
Tune: Der am Kreuz

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  1. Michael Sullivan
    March 18th, 2010 at 12:38 | #1

    In a word: yes – I have always appreciated this hymn, and have sang it quite often when feeling the pressures of temptations. I has been a great comfort to me.

    Another hymn I find myself singing with this hymn, when I feel doubts or pressure, is “Lord, You I Love With All My Heart (CW 434). I love the reference to the end of Psalm 73 (which I will be preaching on this Sunday)

    These two hymns I often think about one after the other. Awesome hymns of grace.

  2. Timothy Stout
    March 18th, 2010 at 21:26 | #2

    I noticed this too. We sang this on the first Sunday in Lent. I noted that the hymn had much in common with Martin Luther’s sermon for Good Friday about the right way to meditate on the suffering and death of Christ Jesus. This sermon has a special place in my heart. When I was in Seminary my dear Grandmother was dying after several paralyzing strokes and I went to visit her right after Palm Sunday. After much talking and feeding her dinner we decided to read the Passion from St. John’s Gospel account and then I read her this sermon. She was greatly comforted by the Doctor’s words, and two weeks later she left her broken body in sleep until our Lord is ready to restore her’s and all others to perfect health. Now this hymn will be tied forever to that sermon and that blessed memory.

  3. Paul K
    March 18th, 2010 at 22:42 | #3

    I find myself wanting to use the word “satisfaction” to describe the theme. The hymn portrays several kinds of dissatisfaction, which is often a motivation for sin. In contrast, the cross is remembered as providing the truest and most complete kind of satisfaction at a great price, thereby rendering all self-serving pursuits as false.

  4. Matt
    March 19th, 2010 at 22:01 | #4

    Hiding in the wounds of Christ became a common theme in western Christian piety in the late medieval period. Consider “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” which was part of larger text compiled in the late Middle Ages by the Cistercians.

  5. Gregory DeVore
    March 21st, 2010 at 00:53 | #5

    I find the orthodox piety refreshing in this hymn. The 2nd and 3rd verses show how reflection on the cross should preserve us from temptations of the flesh and from the world. It reminds me of Gerhard’s Sacred Meditations. Too often I think a fear of pietism has kept the church from the orthodox piety our fathers embraced.

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