The Passion Hymn
Our daughter Karin (who recorded this song for us) wanted to perform a song for our church’s Good Friday service. I often start writing a song by setting the melody to an existing hymn. For her solo, I chose the well-known atonement hymn “Stricken, Smitten.” But just like our song, “The Christmas King,” my husband and I agreed that such a haunting melody deserved a fresh set of lyrics. “The Passion Hymn” is the fruit of that conversation.
“The Passion Hymn” is so named for three reasons. One, the word “passion” captures the mood of the music – the cello and piano in (an arrangement once again provided by our colleague and friend Don Bosco) are emotionally moving. Second, the cry of the sinful human heart in such phrases as “Broken, crippled, hurt and wounded,” and “Who can help me? Who can save me? I am lost. I am to blame” convey the desperate condition of a man separated from his Creator. Primarily, the song is about the passion of Christ. Although there have been many songs written about the crucifixion, “The Passion Hymn” addresses other aspects of that doctrine: the active and passive obedience of Christ. The pinnacle of Christ’s passion is indeed the crucifixion, but he is a perfect Savior able to save because “He Kept the law in ev’ry way” so that when he went to the cross He “turned the wrath of God away …made the ransom; By his passion overcame.”
Our prayer is that the Lord may see fit to use this hymn to instruct and strengthen His church.
Broken, crippled, hurt and wounded,
For God’s law has cut my soul.
I confess that I do hate Him
On my way to hell’s dark hole.
Crying, groaning filled with anguish;
Drowning in my sin and shame!
Who can help me? Who can save me?
I am lost. I am to blame.
There’s no creature that can carry
All God’s wrath against my vice.
Oh! but Justice does require
Human blood, a sacrifice.
God had mercy on creation;
Sent his Son, incarnate King.
Holy Helper! He’s my Savior
By his life and suffering.
Envy, slander, and rejection;
Hunger, thirst, fatigue and pains:
In His sorrows, takes my sorrows;
Clean and pure, He takes my stains.
Though enticed by wicked pleasures
Kept the law in ev’ry way.
By His true life, gave me real life;
Turned the wrath of God away.
Satan, people: curse and blaspheme;
Christ atones upon the tree.
Jesus paid the awful burden;
Took the nails to set us free.
Bleeding, weeping made the ransom;
By his passion overcame.
Christ can help me! Christ can save me!
I am found. Oh, praise His name!
Click here for your free download of the sheet music.