Christ lives yet among us! | Faith
by The Press and Standard | April 14, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: April 10, 2019 at 2:37 pm
Resurrection Day, known to many as Easter Sunday, is fast approaching.
There is a hymn that we sang at my church every year during Easter, when I was a young girl, which I loved so much because of the music and the enthusiasm it would bring to the congregation. As I grew older, I began to focus more on the lyrics. Recently, I read the history behind the song, and I was just amazed.
This hymn, “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” currently remains a very popular song for Resurrection Day. Originally consisting of 11 stanzas and titled “Hymn for Easter Day,” it was published in 1739 by Charles Wesley, an English leader of the Methodist movement. It was later edited by someone else to include the word “Alleluia” at the end of each verse.
The lyrics of this favorite hymn serve as a reminder that Christ lives yet among us. Revelation 1:17-18 (KJV) confirms this: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of **** and of death.”
Because of Charles Wesley’s and his brother John Wesley’s fiery evangelical style of preaching, many other ministers rejected them. Repeatedly, pulpits were closed to them. Charles received a vision from God to reach the multitudes, in spite of being looked down upon, when he first observed one of his friends, George Whitefield, preach in “open air” to a crowd of thousands. Later, a farmer invited Charles to preach in his field to a crowd of approximately 500.
After this service, Charles returned to his house rejoicing that he knew this was God’s will for him. Soon, he began preaching to thousands, and did his ministry grow! His mission was to compel all of his listeners to believe in Christ for salvation. Weekly, his hymns are sung around the world with that message. “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” is probably one of his most joyful and popular hymns that Charles Wesley ever wrote (“Then Sings My Soul” by Robert Morgan).
“Each [stanza] of the hymn is reflective of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. For the final [stanza], which is not printed in most hymn books, Wesley uses descriptive language to describe four requirements for Christians to enjoy eternal life with God. The focuses are for Christians: to know God, to bear witness to God, to sing their faith, and to love one another” (Wikipedia). What a world of love, peace, and joy we would have if all Christians would make an effort to live by these requirements! Talking about winning souls to Christ — it would be that multitude that John talked about in Revelation 7:9 (KJV)!
King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!
Although I love all the lyrics of this great hymn, this particular stanza below really brings phenomenal excitement to me that Christ lives yet among us today!
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!
Have a wonderfully blessed week, and never leave home without Him!
(Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)