‘O Dearest Lord’

Published February 27, 2015

In the third week of Lent I will be making a visit to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem with Andrea Mann, the director of global relations for our church. Our visit begins in Amman, Jordan, with an act of renewing baptismal vows in the Jordan River! Imagine wading into those same waters in which Jesus was baptized to renew one’s vows as a disciple and then to baptize others! That will be quite the experience.

From Jordan, we will visit several parishes and a number of schools and health care centres operated by the Diocese of Jerusalem. We will meet with lots of local clergy and people and then with Archbishop Suheil Dawani and his chaplain, the Rev. Canon John Organ. His ministry has been supported for three years by a generous grant from the General Synod of our church. We will make a visit to St. George’s College and I will preach at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Jerusalem. We will return home with many stories, and I pray that in telling them, our Canadian Companions of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem will grow. Check us out at www.anglican.ca under Mission and Justice.

Throughout this visit, I will wear the pectoral cross that Archbishop Suheil gave me in 2009. It is a Jerusalem cross that bears five gems representing the wounds of Christ crucified—his head, his hands, his feet and his side.

This cross reminds me of an old Lenten hymn, “O Dearest Lord,” written by Henry Ernest Handy (1869-1946). It is, in fact, as you can see, a prayer, each verse a simple petition for the consecration of my life to the work of our Lord.

My hope is that this hymn may inspire not only my keeping of Lent and Holy Week but all the days of my life in that Paschal Mystery into which I am baptized. I know this hope is the very same hope of countless others, and in that I rejoice.

O Dearest Lord, Thy Sacred Head

1 O dearest Lord, thy sacred head
with thorns was pierced for me:
O pour thy blessing on my head
that I may think for thee.

2 O dearest Lord, thy sacred hands
with nails were pierced for me:
O shed thy blessing on my hands
that they may work for thee.

3 O dearest Lord, thy sacred feet
with nails were pierced for me:
O pour thy blessing on my feet
that they may follow thee.

4 O dearest Lord, thy sacred heart
with spear was pierced for me:
O pour thy Spirit in my heart
that I may live for thee.

Text: Henry Ernest Hardy (1869-1946). Mowbray, an imprint of Cassell plc, London.


  • Fred Hiltz

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019.

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