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388. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

1 Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!
All creation, join to say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing, O heavens, and earth, reply: Alleluia!

2 Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won; Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise; Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia!

3 Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now your sting? Alleluia!
Once he died, our souls to save; Alleluia!
Where your victory, O grave? Alleluia!

4 Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head; Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise; Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies. Alleluia!

5 Hail the Lord of earth and heaven! Alleluia!
Praise to you by both be given; Alleluia!
Risen Christ, triumphant now; Alleluia!
Every knee to you shall bow. Alleluia!

Text Information
First Line: Christ the Lord is risen today
Title: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Author: Charles Wesley (1739, alt.)
Meter: 77 77 with alleluias
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ;
Topic: Songs for Children: Hymns; Easter; Alleluias (2 more...)
Tune Information
Composer (desc.): Paul Sjolund, 1935- (1976)
Meter: 77 77 with alleluias
Key: C Major
Copyright: Descant © 1976, Paragon Music. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission of the Zondervan Music Group.

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Matt. 28:1-10
st. 2 = Acts 2:24
st. 3 = Hosea 13:14, 1 Cor. 15:20-23
st. 4 = Phil. 3:10-11
st. 5 = Phil. 2:10

Charles Wesley (PHH 267) composed this "Hymn for Easter Day" in eleven stanzas. First sung at the famous Foundry Meeting House, the text was published in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739). The "alleluia" responses, reflecting ancient Jewish and Christian practice, were added by later editors to fit the tune. Wesley's stanzas 1-2a and 3b-6 are included.

The text contains some of the most familiar Easter themes: all creatures rejoice in Christ's resurrection (st. 1); the work of redemption is complete (st. 2); death is vanquished (st. 3); we have new life in Christ now (st. 4); we praise the victorious Christ (st. 5). The "alleluias," which remind us of the ancient Easter greeting, do more than interrupt the textual flow: they provide the framework for praising God with each line of text.

Liturgical Use:
Easter Sunday morning; a great processional hymn.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

EASTER HYMN originally appeared in the John Walsh collection Lyra Davidica (1708) as a rather florid tune. Tempered to its present version by John Arnold in his Compleat Psalmodist (1749), EASTER HYMN is now one of the best and most joyous Easter tunes.

Composed by Paul Sjolund (b. Minneapolis, MN, 1935), the descant comes from Hymns for the Family of God (1976), which also provides additional parts for two trumpets. A composer, conductor, and festival director, Sjolund has had several hundred of his compositions published. He was minister of music at two Los Angeles churches: Bel Air Presbyterian Church (1959-1968) and La Canada Presbyterian Church (1968-1980). He has also been a consultant and contributor to several modern hymnals.

Wonderfully decorating the "alleluias," the melismas add a depth to our praise that spoken "alleluia" cannot approximate (and that can be exceeded only by dancing such "alleluias"). The structure of text and music invites antiphonal performance. Try having small groups sing Wesley's words and the entire group sing the "alleluias." If the congregation wants to sing the entire hymn–and it often does–organists could point out the antiphonal character by playing the regular lines with a lighter accompaniment or unison melody on some stanzas, and by changing to full organ and/ or harmony for the "alleluias." Be sure to add the descant, especially on stanza 5, perhaps taking that stanza a bit slower.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
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