See, What a Morning

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Easter hymns accomplish three functions: they recount the Easter narrative, proclaim our Easter hope, and celebrate our joy at Christ’s resurrection. This hymn is built on the professions of Easter truths that are expressed primarily in Heidelberg Catechism. Note especially the following:

  • Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 declares that Christ’s resurrection makes us share in Christ’s righteousness, raises us to a new life by his power, and is a sure pledge to us of our resurrection.
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 57 comforts us to know that not only our soul but “also my very flesh will be raised by the power of God, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.”
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58 says that it may be a comfort to know that while experiencing the beginning of eternal joy now, “after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.”

In addition, Our Song of Hope, stanza 5 professes: “On the day of the resurrection, the tomb was empty; His disciples saw Him; death was defeated; new life had come. God’s purpose for the world was sealed.”


See, What a Morning

Call to Worship

Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples,
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;
your faithfulness extends to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.
Let your glory be over all the earth.
—Psalm 57:8-11, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
In our anguish we cried to the Lord,
and he answered by setting us free.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
The Lord is our strength and our song;
he has become our salvation.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
We will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
The Lord has done this;
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
—from Psalm 118:1, 5, 14, 17, 22-24, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Joyful is the sound we make this morning!
For this day liberates us from doubt and fear.
Thankful is the song we sing!
For this day moves us past darkness and despair.
Hopeful is the prayer upon our lips!
For this day awakens in us long-awaited new life.
Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.”
Christ lives here and now.
He is among us at this and every moment!
May his peace and presence be known to you.
And also to you.
Let us greet one another with expressions of Christian love.
—based on Matthew 18:20
[Reformed Worship 58:19]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Eternal and ever-blessed God,
Lord of heaven and earth:
We praise your glorious majesty.
We see your wisdom in all your works;
your grace and truth are revealed in Jesus Christ, your Son;
your power and presence are given to us through your Holy Spirit;
we adore your holy name, O blessed Trinity,
forever and ever. Amen.
[BCW-1946, p 26, alt., PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
We give you thanks, great God,
for the hope we have in Jesus,
who died but is risen and rules over all.
We praise you for his presence with us.
Because he lives, we look for eternal life,
knowing that nothing past, present, or yet to come
can separate us from your great love
made known in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
[WBK, p 148, PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


You are not in the flesh;
you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin,
the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies
also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
—Romans 8:9-11, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

When you were dead in trespasses,
God made you alive together with him,
when he forgave us all our trespasses,
erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.
He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities
and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
—from Colossians 2:13-15, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Christ has died!
Christ has risen!
Christ will come again!
[ancient source, PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

This is the good news that we have received,
in which we stand, and by which we are saved:
Christ died for our sins, was buried,
was raised on the third day,
and appeared first to the women,
then to Peter and the Twelve,
and then to many faithful witnesses.
We believe Jesus is the Christ,
the Anointed One of God,
the firstborn of all creation,
the firstborn from the dead,
in whom all things hold together,
in whom the fullness of God
was pleased to dwell
by the power of the Spirit.
Christ is the head of the body, the church,
and by the blood of the cross reconciles all things to God. Amen.
—based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Colossians 1:15-20
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

By his resurrection he has overcome death,
so that he might make us share in the righteousness
he obtained for us by his death.
By his power we too are already raised to a new life.
Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 45
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

He walked out of the grave,
conqueror of sin and death—Lord of life!
We are set right with God, given new life,
and called to walk with him
in freedom from sin’s dominion.
Our World Belongs to God, st. 25
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Jesus Christ is the hope of God’s world.
In his death,
the justice of God is established;
forgiveness of sin is proclaimed.
On the day of his resurrection,
the tomb was empty; his disciples saw him;
death was defeated; new life had come.
God’s purpose for the world was sealed.
—from Our Song of Hope, st. 4
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

God of life,
your Spirit raised Jesus from dead.
Your Spirit inspired the prophets and writers of Scripture.
Your Spirit draws us to Christ
and helps us to acknowledge him as Lord.
We ask that you will send your Spirit now
to give us deeper insight, encouragement, faith, and hope
through the proclamation of the Easter gospel. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

See, What a Morning

Tune Information

D Major


Musical Suggestion

Because of the diversity and richness of the text, this song’s use is certainly not limited to Easter vigils or Easter morning. Townend states that he “really wanted to convey the immediacy of the Easter morning experience, and how that morning changed history forever.” With that in mind, this hymn can be sung at different times in worship. The celebration of that resurrection morning can be sung in the weeks following Easter, especially as the third stanza leads us into Ascension and Pentecost. In addition, you could use this as an opening song of praise in any service or as a response to an assurance of pardon. The text is also testimonial, which means it could be sung during a service where there is a profession of faith or baptism, or even before or after a personal testimony. Finally, if the situation allows or is pastorally appropriate, there may even be room for this song at the conclusion of a memorial service or funeral.
The triumphant nature of the music and text make this song a great candidate for a plethora of instruments. If your number of instruments is limited, it could be played by just a trumpet and keyboard or by guitars with drums. However, if you have the capacity, this is the kind of song for which you can pull out all the stops. The tempo should not be too slow; but it should never be sung so fast that the richness of the text is minimized.
You may want to begin the second stanza quietly with only drums or one small instrument to suggest the image of Mary’s sorrow, with a slow crescendo until all instruments join in at the center of the stanza, where we sing the realization “It’s the Master, the Lord raised to life again!” Another possibility for the second stanza would be to have a female soloist sing the first half of the stanza, portraying the lone voice of Mary.
The third stanza could be sung on its own apart from the other stanzas as a doxology, or the second half of the last stanza could simply be repeated a cappella.
One final suggestion: have a drama or dance group act out the images painted by the text, as was suggested for the song “When the Son of God Was Dying.”
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 102)
— Brenda Kuyper

See, What a Morning

Hymn Story/Background

Keith Getty and Stuart Townend are known for writing “story songs,” hymns that let the worshipper sing through part of the Gospel story. Getty was itching to write a triumphant melody, and immediately thought to write a song that told the story of the resurrection. He sent Townend a melody, and in writing lyrics, Townend strove to convey the immediacy of the Easter morning experience, which leads the worshipper to respond in the third verse with nothing but praise to the triune God.
— Laura de Jong

Author and Composer Information

Stuart Townend (b. 1963) grew up in West Yorkshire, England, the youngest son of an Anglican vicar. He started learning piano at a young age, and began writing music at age 22. He has produced albums for Keith Routledge and Vinesong, among many others, and has also released eight solo albums to date. Some of his better-known songs include “How Deep the Father’s Love,” “The King of Love,” and “The Power of the Cross.” He continues to work closely with friends Keith and Kristyn Getty, and is currently a worship leader in Church of Christ the King in Brighton, where he lives with wife Caroline, and children Joseph, Emma and Eden.
Keith Getty (b. December 16, 1974) developed a passion for writing good songs for the church in his twenties, and began writing for his small Baptist church. He is passionate about writing theologically astute lyrics and tunes that are easy to sing. Growing up in Ireland, he now lives with his wife Kristyn and daughter Eliza Joy in Nashville. Getty writes and performs predominantly with Kristyn, and the couple regularly tour the United States and the United Kingdom.
— Laura de Jong

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