Worship is a way of life that takes place not just at 11:00 on Sunday morning, but every other hour of the week (John 4:20-24). Through this “Call to Worship,” we want to share some thoughts about worship, scripture verses, hymns, and songs to teach and encourage you as you seek His face daily and then hopefully together with us on Sunday!
Hymn Highlight – “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”
Some hymns perfectly capture the spirit of a season, and that is true of this hymn for Easter Sunday celebrations around the world. The first line, “Christ the Lord is risen today,” sets the tone and tells us what we are celebrating. “Raise your joys and triumphs high,” suggests how to celebrate…then the “Alleluias” soar!
The hymn portrays not only the resurrection, but also the crucifixion. It tells us that “Love’s redeeming work is done, fought the fight, the battle won.” The words state, “Death in vain forbids him rise.” But the resurrection is the dominant theme, as we would expect in an Easter hymn, knowing Christ has reigning victory over the grave!
The hymn that we have today is quite different from the one that Charles Wesley wrote. The original hymn had no Alleluias. It seems as if the hand of God directed the hymn we sing today. An unknown author decided to set the words to the tune that we now use––a tune by a composer whose name has also been lost in time. But the words didn’t fit the tune, so he added the Alleluias to make it fit.
The perfect Easter hymn, then, came into being through the work of three different people who probably never met. It is unlikely that any of the three had any idea how much their hymn would add to our celebration of Easter. How lovely that all eyes and voices are lifted to God, the Author and Perfecter of our faith as the One who calls us to worship, proclaiming, “Christ the Lord is risen today!”
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan, edited by Maria Currey