Awake, All Who Sleep

Awake, all who sleep, and arise from the dead

Author: Petro Parson (1857); Translator: Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
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Author: Petro Parson

(no biographical information available about Petro Parson.) Go to person page >

Translator: Stanley M. Wiersma

Pseudonym: Sietze Buning ********** Stanley Marvin Wiersma (b. Orange City, IA, 1930; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1986) was a poet and professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1959 until his sudden death in 1986. He attended Calvin as an under­graduate and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. His love for the Genevan psalms is reflected in the two books of poetry for which he is most widely known: Purpaleanie and Other Permutations (1978) and Style and Class (1982), both written under the pseudonym Sietze Buning. He also wrote More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry and translated many Dutch poems and hymn texts into English, including the children's hymns publ… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Awake, all who sleep, and arise from the dead
Title: Awake, All Who Sleep
Author: Petro Parson (1857)
Translator: Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
Language: English
Copyright: Translation © 1987, CRC Publications


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Eph. 5:14
st. 3 = Acts 17:30-31

Petro Parson (b. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1803; d:.Steenwijk, the Netherlands, 1878) wrote this text ("Ontwaak, gij die slaapt") during his long tenure as a pastor in Steenwijk (1831-1875). After studies at theological schools in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Leiden, he briefly served one other congregation in Kuinre (1829-1831) before moving to Steenwijk, where he lived until retirement.

The best of Parson's devotional poetry, this text was first published in the Christelijke Gezangen der Herstelde Evangelisch Lutherse Gemeente in Nederland (1857) and then in the Vervolgbundel op de Evangelische Gezangen (1868). Stanley M. Wiersma (PHH 25) translated the text into English in 1982.

The primary image of "Awake, All Who Sleep" comes from Ephesians 5:14, in which Paul is thought to quote an early Christian hymn, “Wake Up, O Sleeper, Rise from the Dead, and Christ Will Shine on You.” The text presents an urgent, insistent reveille, a call to arise and turn to Christ now for eternal life, or face him later as the judge who condemns unbelievers to eternal death.

Liturgical Use:
As an invitation hymn in evangelistic services, or possibly during regular Sunday worship after the sermon (when the cry "Awake" could do double duty!); useful during the Easter Vigil or Easter season.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Johannes G. Bastiaans (PHH 418) composed ONTWAAK (awake) in 1866 for the original Dutch text. The tune was one of thirty that Bastiaans provided for the Vervolgbundel op de Evangelische Gezangen (1868) after being commissioned to do so by the Nederlandse Hervormde Kerk. ONTWAAK is also one of severa…

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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #537
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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #537

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