Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rising Up From Grief and Tears

Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Resurrection, has finally come. If you've been to church, it was probably a great day for music, both the familiar hymns and maybe something new. I've been in a lot of different churches on a lot of different Easters, and every one has sung Jesus Christ is risen today as the opening hymn. I suppose some churches somewhere must do something else.

John Samuel Bewley Monsell was born in Ireland but became a priest in the Church of England. For some reason, this hymn never really made it into Anglican or Episcopal hymnals, though it was in some Church of Ireland collections. Later, the Lutherans took it up for some equally unknown reason.

This hymn is a pretty rousing one to close the Easter service, but I don't get to do it any more.

Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing our praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!
Gratefully our hearts adore you,
As your light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before you,
Rising up from grief and tears,

Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing our praises! Alleluia!
Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of our Lenten fast is o’er,
Through the open gates of gladness
You return to life once more;
Death and hell before you bending,
See, you rise, the Victor now,
Angels on your steps attending,
Glory round your wounded brow.

Christ is risen! all the sorrow
That last evening round you lay,
Now has found a glorious morrow
In the rising of today;
See the grave, its first-fruits giving,
Springing up from holy ground,
You were dead, but now are living,
You were lost, but now are found.

Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthrall;
Be we Christ’s, in whom forever
We have triumphed over all;
All the doubting and dejection
Of our trembling hearts have ceased,
Hail the day of resurrection!
Let us rise and keep the feast.

John Samuel Bewley Monsell, 1863; alt.
Tune: MORGENLIED ( with refrain)
Frederick C. Maker, 1876

I'm off to take a nap.


Leland Bryant Ross said...

Why on earth don't you get to do it anymore??

Fwiw we did "Easter Song" ("Hear the bells ringing...") as both the opening song and the closer at Fremont Baptist yesterday. We also did "Christ the Lord is risen today" (but not "Jesus Christ is risen today") to Easter Hymn (the tune name formerly known as "Worgan") and "Because he lives" and "Low in the grave he lay" in between iterations of "Easter Song".

C.W.S. said...

The only place I get to pick the hymns is here on the blog. Also, I no longer live near a group of friends who might spontaneously break into a hymn (4-part harmony of course) at, say, an airport or on the subway.

I know there are churches who sing the Wesley text to Easter Hymn but I think it still counts. The tune stays with more people than the text does, I think.