Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted, by Pr. Rossow

April 22nd, 2011 Post by

It is raining here in Chicago as I write this, during the first hour of our Lord’s suffering on the cross. I am not sure which is more appropriate to mark His death, a gloomy, rainy day to match the mood of the law or a stark, azure blue-sky day where you just can’t miss him being lifted up on that tree, standing out in dramatic silhouette.

Since childhood the phrase “stricken, smitten and afflicted” as always rung in my brain and also in my conscience. Nothing summarizes the mood of this day, neither stark sun nor pelting rain, any better for me than that phrase.

The haunting phrase comes from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. The nerve of the Holy Spirit to accuse us of considering Him rightly smitten, stricken and afflicted hanging there on the pole (Isaiah 53:4). But of course, the Holy Spirit is right. We are boobs for thinking such. Even worse, we are worthy of the “smiting” he shall do in justice when he comes again in fury.

But until that day, my hope is in the next verse from the Spirit which puts it in sweet Gospel perspective – “the chastisement that brought us peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:4). We wrongly considered him worthy of affliction but God intended it for our good.

It is after all a good Friday. He was not rightly nor justly stricken, smitten and afflicted. But the agape righteousness and justice of this day has brought you and me forgiveness. God bless you on this holiest of days, Brothers of John the Steadfast, Sisters of Katie Luther and all our faithful readers. Forgiveness is yours.

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  1. Elaine
    April 22nd, 2011 at 14:57 | #1

    Thank you, Pastor. God bless YOU on this holiest of days.

  2. April 22nd, 2011 at 15:09 | #2

    You are so kind and thoughtful Elaine. I am sure I will see you in the choir several more times this weekend. Thanks for singing to us the Word of God!

    (Happy Bob says “thank you” also. Mmmm….. maybe I have a few too many sermons floating around in my head and am going a bit crazy and now thinking the cat is talking.)


  3. Old Time St. John’s
    April 22nd, 2011 at 16:52 | #3

    The Bach St. Matthew Passion is being broadcast RIGHT NOW from KFUO (Thanks to MBW who mentioned this elsewhere on this site.)

  4. Ready to Lose it
    April 22nd, 2011 at 17:49 | #4

    Is it called “Good” Friday because it was good that Christ took on the world’s sin?

    Pastor R, I was going to accuse you of stealing our ” Kitty” but just noticed she is sleeping in a near by chair. They are dead ringers of each other.

  5. April 22nd, 2011 at 18:46 | #5


    In that case, congratulations on having the most handsome cat in the world!


  6. J Frerking
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:35 | #6

    Gospel very nicely stated Pastor Rossow. It did unfortunately remind me of the loss of one of my favorite Lenten hymns, which lost its way in the new hymmal (insert frowny face here). Have a blessed Easter.

  7. mbw
    April 23rd, 2011 at 09:37 | #7

    J Frerking :Gospel very nicely stated Pastor Rossow. It did unfortunately remind me of the loss of one of my favorite Lenten hymns, which lost its way in the new hymmal (insert frowny face here). Have a blessed Easter.

    LSB 451 ?

  8. Old Time St. John’s
    April 23rd, 2011 at 23:31 | #8

    @J Frerking #6
    Any relation to Dan Frerking, formerly of Fresno and San Francisco? He was my 5th and 6th grade Lutheran school teacher. He was also our organist, the school music teacher, and the choir director, among other things. He loved Bach, and Lutheran sacred music, and I will always be grateful for the music that I learned from him.

  9. J Frerking
    April 27th, 2011 at 18:51 | #9

    Appreciate the LSB reference…actually this was just “venting” a bit. Second Lenten season where I have found one of my favorite hymns falling victim to a choice of arrangement that “lost its way” and (IMHO admittedly) made it much less impactful when singing as a chorale. I’m not a music major by any means, but TLH’s setting had a minor-key sound to it that made it fit so well with the season. I mourn, which also fits the season I suppose!

  10. J Frerking
    April 27th, 2011 at 19:11 | #10

    @Old Time St. John’s #8
    My father had a cousin named Daniel who was a Lutheran teacher/principal. Not sure about CA, but did spend some time in FL. Unfortunately for us remaining, he has since joined the Church Triumphant. If this is the same gentleman, my Dad would be thrilled to know that he instilled the same love of sacred music that my parents instilled in me. Quoting my favorite line from M*A*S*H: “Ahhhh….Bach”

  11. Old Time St. John’s
    April 27th, 2011 at 19:26 | #11

    @J Frerking #10
    Maybe it was he!

    His middle initial was L (I don’t know what it stood for.)
    He did a little composing of music as well.
    We had a great organ and he played it loud and fast, my favorite.
    He kept it going all through Holy Communion–as many verses as it took to commune us about 12 at a time. I learned more about the Eucharist from those great hymns than from 9 years of Lutheran schools including serious confirmation classes.

  12. February 20th, 2013 at 21:06 | #12

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