Friday, April 10, 2009

A Purple Robe

This past Sunday in church, one of the preschoolers here at St. John, a bubbly little boy who also thinks deeply about spiritual things, greeted me at the door after worship not with his usual zest, but instead with a serious look on his face and a series of questions.  His first question was this:  "When they put the crown of thorns on Jesus' head, didn't that hurt Jesus?"  I said to him that it did hurt Jesus a great deal.  His next question was this:  "Why would the soldiers want do that and hurt Jesus?"  I said that not everyone liked Jesus and some people were trying to hurt Jesus on purpose.  His final question was the clincher and one about which I have been thinking all week:  "When the soldiers put the crown of thorns on Jesus' head, didn't that hurt their fingers too?"   I assured him that it probably did hurt the men who did this as well.  His final question was a reminder that while our sin was the cause of Jesus' suffering, our sin also hurts us as well. Jesus spoke about the faith of a child and it was very touching for me to see this Passion detail of Christ's suffering through the little eyes of this child.

The text is by British hymn writer Timothy Dudley-Smith.  The tune A PURPLE ROBE is by Noel Treddinick.   Text and tune are found in Worship Songs, Ancient and Modern, published in 1992 by The Canterbury Press Norwich and in the United States by Hope Publishing Company. The tune follows an A B C A B pattern with stanzas 1 and 4 sharing the same melody, stanzas 2 and 5 sharing the same melody. Stanza 3 has a unique melody and stands alone as a bridge.

1.  A purple robe, a crown of thorn,
         a reed in his right hand;
    before the soldiers' spite and scorn
         I see my Savior stand.

2.  He bears between the Roman guard
          the weight of all our woe;
     a stumbling figure bowed and scarred
          I see my Savior go.

3.  Fast to the cross's spreading span,
          high in the sunlight air,
     all the unnumbered sins of man
          I see my Savior bear.

4.  He hangs, by whom the world was made,
          beneath the darkened sky;
     the everlasting ransom paid,
          I see my Savior die.

5.  He shares on high his Father's throne,
         who once in mercy came;
     for all his love to sinners shown
         I sing my Savior's name.

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