Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Christ the Lord is Risen Today (Composer: Charles Wesley)

No Easter is complete without the singing of Charles Wesley's grand Easter hymn, which tells the Easter story and raises us with the story to a new life in a way which is inspiring. The original hymn had eleven stanzas. It appeared in 1739. The hymn, sung to an adaptation of Handel's ''See the conquering Hero comes," is "a sermon in song."

The effect of this hymn is illustrated by an incident. It afforded great comfort to Thomas Lacy, an earnest English Methodist. On Easter morning he repeated the first stanza to his sister. His voice in his physical weakness faltered. At its close he was told that death was near. "Then," he replied, "I have a pleasant prospect before me."

Wesley's easter sermon in song

Christ the Lord is risen today,
Sons of men and angels say.
Raise your joys and triumphs high;
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.

Love's redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won;
Lo! the Sun's eclipse is o'er;
Lo! He sets in blood no more.

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal;
Christ has burst the gates of hell!
Death in vain forbids His rise;
Christ hath opened Paradise.

Lives again our glorious King;
Where, O Death, is now thy sting?
Dying once, He all doth save.
Where thy victory, O Grave?

Soar we now where Christ hath led,
Following our exalted Head:
Made like Him, like Him we rise;
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies!

Hail, the Lord of earth and heaven!
Praise to Thee by both be given:
Thee we greet triumphant now;
Hail, the Resurrection Thou!

Charles Wesley, the author of this hymn, was the greatest hymn writer of the Wesley family, and it was a large and a noted one, Charles being the eighteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. He is the author, it is said, of 6500 hymns. He was a Methodist clergyman, and is known as one of the ''Oxford Methodists." A good Methodist, he has written not a few hymns which the various churches with practical unanimity have taken up and adopted into the family of good Evangelical hymns. "Christ the Lord is risen today," the lines of which usually end with the "Hallelujah," is one of them.


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