With Appreciation to the Writers of Hymns

Easter is such a joyful time, and the words and music of the old hymns help me to fully express the joy inside me.

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Here are a few of my favorite Easter hymns. I must sing these every Easter or I don’t feel like I have sufficiently celebrated! So for the past few years I’ve gone onto YouTube before church and sang along with several choirs. And then if we also sing them at church, that is frosting on the cake for me.

Thank you hymn writers!

CHRIST AROSE

This song starts out slow and somber with images of the grave. But the chorus launches into a brisk march with the notes going higher and higher, lifting the singers to new hope and joy. Robert Lowry wrote the text and music for this song in 1874, and my hymn book includes the scripture, “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Lord!

Death cannot keep his Prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Easter 05_41_14---The-Cross_webCHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY

This song written by Charles Wesley in 1739 is also a vigorous tune. You can’t help but “raise your joys and triumphs high” as the notes soar upward. I love singing the high notes, it energizes me! The song taunts death:  Hey, Death, where is your sting now? Where is your victory now, Grave!  Christ disarmed you both!

There are actually eleven stanzas, and these are some of the best known.

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

HE LIVES

This song is a very simple declaration of someone living life as a follower of Christ. The words and music were written by Alfred H. Ackley in 1933.  He wrote them in response to someone who asked him, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?”, and a dreadful Easter sermon!

I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.
He lives, He lives,
Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading through all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him, the help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.

Happy Easter everbody!

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