Calvin Seerveld (b. 1930) was professor of aesthetics at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto from 1972 until he retired in 1995. Educated at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; the University of Michigan; and the Free University of Amsterdam (Ph.D.), he also studied at Basel University in Switzerland, the University of Rome, and the University of Heidelberg. Seerveld began his career by teaching at Bellhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1958-1959), and at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois (1959-1972). A fine Christian scholar, fluent in various biblical and modern languages, he is published widely in aesthetics, biblical studies, and philosophy. His books include Take Hold of God and Pull (1966), The Gr… Go to person page >
Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) wrote these words in Toronto in 1985; they were first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. He offered the text as an alternate to "At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing," which is often associated with the tune SONNE DER GERECHTIGKEIT. Seerveld created an effective, festive dismissal hymn in the conviction that the Lord's Supper is best concluded with a jubilee song instead of spoken words.
All three stanzas end with the theme "Christ sets us free." The joyful character of the text comes from remembering the death of Christ in the light of his resurrection, as Paul instructs in 1 Corinthians 15. Christ gave himself freely as the sacrifice (st. 1) required to set us free from sin (st. 2), and because of new life in him, we are free to laugh (st. 3)!
As a dismissal hymn after the Lord's Supper; also very useful at an Easter Lord's Supper service or at the end of the Easter Vigil, after communion. Since every Sunday is a "little Easter," sing it anytime as a post-communion hymn, but not during Lent or Holy Week.
SONNE DER GERECHTIGKEIT was originally the tune to a fifteenth-century folk song, "Der reich Mann war geritten aus," and it was adopted by the Bohemian Brethren for 1566 hymnal, Kirchengeseng. The tune is thus a contrafactum, changed from the folk/court use to church use. The title is the German inc…