On the Sunday after Easter, the hymn we sang at the end of our worship service at Southminster was a favorite of mine: Christ is Alive! I find the lyrics to be meaningful, beautifully weaving the hopes of that first Easter morning with the hopes we still carry and the concerns for which we pray today.
When we sing together in worship – be it in-person or via livestream – many of us have grown accustomed to singing the lyrics directly from the screen. I have a musician’s heart and a sentimental fondness for holding a physical hymnal, yet I’ve found that I don’t mind the digitized form of lyrics for congregational song. If nothing else, it allows me to keep my head up and my senses engaged to relish in the gift of communal worship.
Still, one thing that we haven’t yet replicated in digital form are the brief informational snippets written at the bottom of each hymn in the Glory to God hymnal. If you've attended a worship service in a Presbyterian Church, perhaps you've noticed them. They offer context to a hymn’s writing, or the thoughts of a composer in creating a melody. Our hymnals are an incredible resource for our faith!
The informational snippet for Christ is Alive! is a great example of what we can learn about our hymns:
In 1968 Easter fell ten days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and this text was written to express an Easter hope while mindful of that terrible event. Buoyed by a triple-arched tune, it affirms the presence of a wounded, risen Christ with all who suffer.
Friends – Christ is alive, and this the good news in which we find our hope! Even in the here and now, as we look around at a world that is not yet as God intended it to be, we find hope. May the living of our lives embody that same promise!
Christ is alive, and comes to bring good news to this and every age
till earth and sky and ocean ring with joy, with justice, love, and praise.
May it be so.
Christ is Alive!
(GtG #246; TRURO)
Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
Love, drowned in death, shall never die.
Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
but saving, healing, here and now,
and touching every place and time.
In every insult, rift, and war
where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
Christ suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, where even hope has died.
Women and men, in age and youth,
can feel the Spirit, hear the call,
and find the way, the life, the truth,
revealed in Jesus, freed for all.
Christ is alive, and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
till earth and sky and ocean ring
with joy, with justice, love, and praise.
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
All works by Rev. TJ Remaley on this website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This blog is maintained personally by me and does not necessarily represent the views of any congregation I have served. Every effort is made to give proper attribution for quotations, images, and other media used on this page.