Lyrics of Lent

There is such power in words.  With a word, God created the universe.  The Apostle John tells us the Jesus is God’s Word, incarnate.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God inspired the writers of the Bible to give us His story.

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ, by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ‘tis He, ‘tis He!
‘Tis the log expected Prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it;
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

The first line from the hymn, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted,” echoes the words of the prophet Isaiah, in his 53rd chapter.  Thomas Kelly writes a very personal reflection on the passion of Christ.  His words paint a picture of an eyewitness account to Christ’s crucifixion and the impact that bears on humanity.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that justice gave.

Kelly’s words pose a challenge to the reader, urging them to think deeply on the events of Good Friday, as paraphrased from the Scriptural accounts.  Human nature seems to easily interject thoughts, question significance, and vicariously experience the suffering that Jesus must have gone through as He was hanging on the cross.  While we will never fully know or appreciate what Christ went through for us as He was beaten, mocked, and crucified, Scripture assures us that His sacrifice was on purpose, with purpose, and for our sake.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.

One of the things that I value the most in our worship service is the ability to begin with confession and absolution.  The words of this hymn help me to put into perspective the sinner (me) and the Savior (Jesus).  What I have done is directly converse to what Jesus has done.  The words of hymns that point to the righteous actions of my Savior and help me to view my actions in a more revealing light.  My disobedience is absolved by the obedience of Jesus, and my response is marked with gratitude and joy.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost:
Christ, the Rock of our salvation,
Is the name of which we boast;
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

All of Scripture points to Jesus, the Word of God.  What Christ accomplished for us during the week of His Passion was what the prophets proclaimed, what the apostles witnessed, and what we rest our faith upon.  There is power in God’s Word.  With Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith, we have a firm foundation that rolls the gravestones away, and remains strong into eternity.  “For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,  built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,  in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)