On long road trips, I often turn all electronic sounds off and drive in silence for a while. Sometimes I start singing to fill the silence, and this past weekend’s trip to Reading and back was no different, as I caught myself making up songs about the cars and drivers around me on the road. I often try to sing hymns and psalms from memory as well, and I especially try to sing old selections from the Cantus Christi since we don’t often have opportunity to sing from it now that our psalm and hymn sing is defunct.
One hymn I found myself coming back to a couple times on the trip up and back this weekend is “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted,” written by Thomas Kelly in 1804. It’s a hymn about Christ’s death and atoning work, and it is accompanied by a somber, well-written melody with great harmony (listen/watch to an a capella version with an alternate fourth-verse arrangement here).
It’s a shame “Good Friday” type tunes are sung so infrequently, because this is a timeless hymn of the church that can be sung throughout the year, especially in conjunction with the observance of the Lord’s Supper. I absolutely love the words to this hymn, which flow seamlessly from verse one to verse four. They just don’t write hymns like this anymore, eh?
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 long-expected Prophet,David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;By his Son God now has spoken:‘Tis the true and faithful Word.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 interpose to save;But the deepest stroke that pierced himWas the stroke that Justice gave.Ye who think of sin but lightlyNor suppose the evil greatHere 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.Here we have a firm foundation,Here the refuge of the lost;Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,His the name of which we boast.Lamb of God for sinners wounded,Sacrifice to cancel guilt!None shall ever be confoundedWho on him their hope have built.