Monday in Holy Week

St. Giles’ Cathedral
Holy Week 2020 Daily Devotion
Hymns for Holy Week

Monday 6th April 2020
My song is love unknown

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me,
Love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
O who am I,
that for my sake
My Lord should take
frail flesh, and die?

He came from his blest throne,
Salvation to bestow;
But people scorned, and none
the longed-for Christ would know.
But O, my Friend,
my Friend indeed,
Who at my need
his life did spend.

Sometimes they strew his way,
And his sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then ‘Crucify!’
is all their breath,
And for his death
they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
he gave the blind their sight.
Sweet injuries!
yet they at these
Themselves displease,
and ‘gainst him rise.

They rise, and needs will have
My dear Lord done away;
A murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet cheerful he
to suffering goes,
That he his foes
from thence might free.

In life, no house, no home
My Lord on earth might have;
In death, no friendly tomb
but what a stranger gave.
What may I say?
Heaven was his home;
But mine the tomb
wherein he lay.

Here might I stay and sing:
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
never was grief like thine!
This is my Friend,
in whose sweet praise
I all my days
could gladly spend.

Samuel Crossman (c1624-1683)

Bible Reading John 12: 1-11
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him) said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put in it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

A Reflection by Rev Douglas A O Nicol
Throughout the centuries since her act of exhubertant generosity, people have spoken of Mary’s love, and today’s hymn invites us to reflect on the love of God in Jesus Christ. Written over 300 years ago by Samuel Crossman, Dean of Bristol Cathedral, ‘My song is love unknown’ invites us to reflect on Jesus, named as Saviour, Lord, Friend and King.

Four themes emerge for our Holy Week thoughts:

  • Love Incarnate: While we could never measure the infinite love of God, it is not a mystery – for it has been manifested in the Jesus of history, who came for all of us: ‘O who am I?’
  • Love rejected: We are then reminded of what happened when Jesus came among us, with the events of Holy Week unfolding, leading to crucifixion.
  • Love victorious: Love may have been rejected, but the hymn reminds us of the way Jesus accepted His fate. He was the victor throughout – in perfect command of Himself – cheerful to the end.
  • Love adorned: The hymn ends on a note of adoration: ‘Here might I stay and sing – and if in our imagination we linger at the foot of the Cross it must not be to mourn a dead Jesus – rather it should be to sing and worship. For the Christ who died – rose again on Easter Day. This is the Gospel story.

Through ‘My song is love unknown’ we are invited to make the Gospel story our own – and find the Jesus of history becoming our Saviour, Lord, Friend and King as we journey through life in our troubled world.

Today’s Hymn My song is love unknown


God of love,
through your Son
you gave us a new commandment,
to love one another as he loved us.
In his Spirit we ask you
for a mind forgetful of past injury,
a will to seek the good of others
and a heart full of love to all.
Today we commend to you all touched by the Coronavirus pandemic:
the sick, the bereaved, and all who care for those in need,
bless them all, we pray,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Secure in God’s love,
be steadfast in his service,
And the blessing of God almighty,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Be among you and remain with you.


Music for Reflection: Tristis est anima mea Johann Kuhnau (1660-1722)


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