Sunday, May 8, 2011

Now You Live Forever

Low in the grave you lay,
Jesus, my Savior,
Waiting the coming day,
Jesus, my Love!

Up from the grave you arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er your foes,
You arose a victor from the grave's domain,
Now you live forever, with the saints to reign.
You arose! You arose!
Hallelujah! You arose!

Vainly they watch your bed,
Jesus, my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead,
Jesus, my Life!

Death cannot keep its prey,
Jesus, my Savior;
You tore the bars away,
Jesus, my Lord!

Robert Lowry, 1874; alt.
CHRIST AROSE ( with refrain)

The sound file doesn't quite capture the usual distinction between the short stanzas, generally played and sung quite slowly and heavily, in contrast to the longer, quicker joyful refrain.

Baptist minister Robert Lowry reportedly wrote this song during the Easter season of 1874, and it was published the following year in Brightest and Best, a collection he helped compile in his caopacity as musical editor at Biglow & Main, which was becoming the largest publisher of Sunday school music and gospel songs in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

This Easter song went on to many other nondenominational songbooks as well as denominational hymnals around the world, well into the twentieth century and beyond, including the British Methodist Hymn-Book (1933) and (a late arrival) in the US Methodist Hymnal of 1964. Even more recently it has been included in the Congregational Hymns for a Pilgrim People (2007) and the Baptist Celebrating Grace (2010). The Guide to United States Popular Culture (2001) even lists it as one of the most popular Easter songs, alongside Irving Berlin's Easter Parade (!) -- I'd like to see which one would really come out on top if you asked a hundred people.

Three Years Ago: Julian of Norwich

Three Years Ago: Mother's Day


Leland Bryant Ross said...

Interesting revision. Don't think it'll fly in Baptist waters just yet, but I rather like it.

Attended an Episcopal Holy Eucharist today at noon, St. Mark's Cathedral. Interesting. No music, but the homily was on Zinzendorf! (Featured yesterday in Holy Women, Holy Men, the new Episcopalian Lives of the Saints.) Picked up a copy of Voices Found at their bookstore.


C.W.S. said...

There have been system-wide problems with Blogger sites over the last few days with blogs being unable to post and losing some material. Commenter Leland did leave a comment the other day which I read but couldn't respond to, and then it was eaten. I think one of AuntE's posts at her blog was lost too.

Anyway, what I would have said to Mr. Ross is that I hope he can post some impressions about Voices Found at his blog when he gets a chance to look through it (he recently acquired a copy).

Leland Bryant Ross said...

I have posted on it, yesterday, at which point Blogger was still not permitting me to reply here. Here's my initial commentary; more will follow.