Category Archives: Easter

He is Risen

 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.  But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.   For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.   For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  I Cor. 15:9-22

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
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!
Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now they sting? Alleluia!
Dying once, He all doth save: Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
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!
Amen.

The Revelation of God Himself

“When we in the Christian Church speak of revelation, we are not thinking of such earthly or heavenly revelations, but of the Power which is above all powers; not of the revelation of a divine Above or Below, but of the revelation of God Himself. That is why the Reality of which we are now speaking, God’s revelation in Jesus Christ, is compelling and exclusive, helpful and adequate, because here we have not to do with a reality different from God, nor with one of those earthly or even heavenly realities, but with God Himself, with God in the highest, with the Creator of Heaven and earth, of whom we have heard about in the first article.” – Karl Barth

By Thy Grace Our Souls Are Fed

Bread of the world, in mercy broken!
Wine of the soul, in mercy shed!
By whom the words of life were spoken,
And in whose death our sins are dead!

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
Look on the tears by sinners shed,
And be thy feast to us the token
That by thy grace our souls are fed!

 

   I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down,
Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place,
And He has made me glad.

Here are the other verses, not here included:

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one,
Stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank
Of that life-giving stream.
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
And now I live in Him.

3. I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“I am this dark world’s Light.
Look unto Me; thy morn shall rise
And all thy day be bright.”
I looked to Jesus, and I found
In Him my Star, my Sun;
And in that Light of Life I’ll walk
Till traveling days are done.

 

 

Now Hath Christ Arisen!

 

This joyful Eastertide,
Away with sin and sorrow!
My love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.

Refrain:
Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne’er burst his three-day prison
Our faith had been in vain:
But now hath Christ arisen, arisen, arisen!

My flesh in hope shall rest,
And for a season slumber:
Till trump from east to west
Shall wake the dead in number.

Death’s flood hath lost his chill,
Since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.

Our choir will sing this Dutch carol tomorrow.

Tenebrae

Like many others, my church held a Tenebrae service last evening.  It was a somber service, accented by growing darkness, as we remembered the final events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion.  Calvin College’s resource library  provides a good guide for Tenebrae observance (which influenced our service).  From their site:

The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week.
 Tenebrae
A Service of Shadows
The service of Tenebrae, meaning “darkness” or “shadows,” has been practiced by the church since medieval times. Once a service for the monastic community, Tenebrae later became an important part of the worship of the common folk during Holy Week. We join Christians of many generations throughout the world in using the liturgy of Tenebrae.
Tenebrae is a prolonged meditation on Christ’s suffering. Readings trace the story of Christ’s passion, music portrays his pathos, and the power of silence and darkness suggests the drama of this momentous day. As lights are extinguished, we ponder the depth of Christ’s suffering and death; we remember the cataclysmic nature of his sacrifice as we hear the overwhelming sound of the “strepitus”; and through the return of the small but persistent flame of the Christ candle at the conclusion of the service, we anticipate the joy of ultimate victory.
Recommended, and included in our service was Luci Shaw’s poem:
“Judas, Peter”
because we are all
betrayers, taking
silver and eating
body and blood and asking
(guilty) is it I and hearing
him say yes
it would be simple for us all
to rush out
and hang ourselves
but if we find grace
to cry and wait
after the voice of morning
has crowed in our ears
clearly enough
to break our hearts
he will be there
to ask us each again
do you love me?
It is good to be reminded that we, too, are guilty….
But because of the Lamb of God we are forgiven and we have Hope.
None other Lamb, none other Name,
None other hope in Heav’n or earth or sea,
None other hiding place from guilt and shame,
None beside Thee!
My faith burns low, my hope burns low;
Only my heart’s desire cries out in me
By the deep thunder of its want and woe,
Cries out to Thee.
Lord, Thou art Life, though I be dead;
Love’s fire Thou art, however cold I be:
Nor Heav’n have I, nor place to lay my head,
Nor home, but Thee.
                                                       Christina Rosetti
Here is a link to my choir singing “None Other Lamb” last night.

The Cleansing Fountain

 

Written by William Cowper in 1772, in many hymnbooks known as “There is a Fountain.”  The three verses sung here:

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
And when this feeble, faltering tongue 
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song, 
I’ll sing His power to save.
Thou dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
‘Till all the ransomed church of God
Are Saved to sin no more.
The two leaders in the video are well known in Sacred Harp singing circles, David Lee of Hoboken, GA and Syble Wooten Adams of Adler, AL.

Jesus as Lord

At least since early January I have been focused on The Lamb of God.  I have known what that means, and Who that is for most of my life, but it became especially real when, during his difficult and prolonged hospitalization, my brother William, one very challenging night, after I had read several specifically requested scriptures to him, fighting for breath, said to me, “You know, the focus of Heaven will be the Lamb of God.”  To share that desperate time, from our physical perspective, with someone who clings to the Lamb is awe inspiring and affirming: truly a witness.

From my pastor, Jeff Garrison’s sermon today, on the perfect Lamb of God, our Savior, Jesus the Christ:

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt was a German pastor and theologian in the early decades of the twentieth century. He isn’t well known, but had a great influence on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth (who are better known). In one of his sermons, which has been collected in a book titled Action in Waiting, he says:

We do not gain much by just accepting that Christ died and rose again. Many people believe this, but nevertheless go to hell. This belief is of no help unless you and I experience Jesus as Lord. It is not the worst if some people are unable to believe that Christ rose from the dead – at least they still regard it as something tremendous, too tremendous to glibly confess. The sad thing is that so many people today claim to believe it, and yet it means so little to them. It has no effect in their lives.

Make No Mistake

From Affirmations of God and Man: writings for modern dialogue, edited by Edmund Fuller, 1967:
Seven Stanzas at Easter
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino
    acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven
    apostles;
it was as His flesh:  ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of
    enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of
    earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not paper-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will
    eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in the dawn
    light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the
    miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
                                                              John Updike

Ascension Day

Yesterday the Christian Church celebrated Ascension Day, forty days after Easter, the day our Lord ascended to Heaven.

Salute the last, and everlasting day,
Joy at the uprising of this Sun, and Son,
Ye whose true tears, or tribulation
Have purely wash’d, or burnt your drossy clay.
Behold, the Highest, parting hence away,
Lightens the dark clouds, which He treads upon;
Nor doth he by ascending show alone,
But first He, and He first enters the way.
O strong Ram, which hast batter’d heaven for me!
Mild lamb, which with Thy Blood hast mark’d the path!
Bright Torch, which shinest, that I the way may see!
O, with Thy own Blood quench Thy own just wrath;
And if Thy Holy Spirit my Muse did raise,
Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise.

                                                         John Donne

Latin.png Latin text

Coelos ascendit hodie
Jesus Christus Rex Gloriae:
Sedet ad Patris dexteram,
Gubernat coelum et terram.
Iam finem habent omnia
Patris Davidis carmina.
Iam Dominus cum Domino
Sedet in Dei solio:
In hoc triumpho maximo
Benedicamus Domino.
Laudetur Sancta Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias,
Alleluia. Amen.

English.png English translation

Today into the heavens has ascended
Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, Alleluia!
He sits at the Father’s right hand,
and rules heaven and earth, Alleluia!
Now have been fulfilled all of
Father David’s songs,
Now God is with God, Alleluia!
He sits upon the royal throne of God,
in this his greatest triumph, Alleluia!
Let us bless the Lord:
Let the Holy Trinity be praised,
let us give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluia! Amen.