Sunday, April 27, 2014
A World Renewed to Life
The season of Easter links resurrection with new life and rebirth, and sometimes with the season of spring as well. It's been a long winter in many places in the US and we're ready for all these things, so I like that we have several more weeks of the Easter season.
A trip to a local library book sale yesterday yielded two interesting hymnals, one of them being Hymns of the Kingdom of God (1910), edited by Henry Sloane Coffin and Ambrose White Vernon. This was a nondenominational hymnal, described in the Preface as "a small collection of large hymns" (small in its own time, perhaps, but it includes 488 hymns, which we probably wouldn't call small today). Coincidentally, the Preface is dated Easter 1910, and so I looked for something new and different (to me) for the season. The thing I like about today's text is that it's not just about the Easter story, it's about going out and telling the good news of the resurrection.
Proclaim to all, both far and near
That Christ is ris'n again;
That he is with us now and here,
And ever shall remain.
And what we say, let all this morn,
Go tell it to their friends,
That soon in every place shall dawn
Christ's reign, which never ends.
The earthly paths that Jesus trod
To heav'n at last shall come,
And all who hearken to the Word
Shall reach God's promised home.
He lives! His presence has not ceased,
Though foes and fears be rife;
And thus we hail in Easter’s feast
A world renewed to life!
Friedrich von Hardenberg, 1799;
tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1858; alt.
Tune: MAGNIFY (C.M.)
Calvin W. Laufer, 20th cent.
OK, the word "rife" is probably not the most user-friendly of terms, and I'm not sure modern hymnwriters should use it, but I do like the rest of that stanza.
I've had a copy of this hymnal downloaded from the internet for some time, but there's really no more convenient substitute for holding the book in your hand and leafing through it.
In the spirit of Eastertide I hope to bring some new life of my own to the blog here. Hope someone out there is still listening.