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Jesus Christ Is Risen Today

posted Apr 8, 2012, 7:35 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jan 20, 2013, 3:18 PM ]
Christians around the world will begin their Easter celebrations by joyfully singing this traditional Processional, proclaiming their faith through lyrics that have told this sacred story and great affirmation for centuries.  Probably the best known of all the Easter hymns, its text recites the fact of the Resurrection… 
Christ the Lord is risen today
…announces the result…
Our salvation have procured
…and calls on all creation to proclaim this news:
Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise him, all ye heav’nly host, Alleluia!

Sometimes going by Christ the Lord is Risen Today, an unknown author wrote it in 14th century Bohemia as Surrexit Christus hodie.  It was translated into English by two Irishmen, poet laureate Nahum Tate and Anglican clergyman Nicholas Brady.  In 1708 they paired it with a tune by an unknown composer called EASTER HYMN in the book Lyra Davidica, or a Collection of Divine Songs and Hymns.  The 4th stanza that begins Sing we to our God above was written in 1740 by Charles Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church who wrote over 2,000 hymns, including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!  Then, after more revisions and stanzas, it was republished in 1779 in John Arnold’s Compleat Psalmodist; a book containing “a set of services, psalm-tunes, and Divine Hymns suited to the Feasts and Fasts of the Church of England.”

The Alleluia! we sing at the end of each line was not part of the original hymn.  It was added by some unknown editor to better fit the tune.  “Alleluia” or “Hallelujah” is an ancient Hebrew expression of praise.  St. Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, wrote about the Christians in the 4th century “that the very ceiling of houses of worship were often shaken with the reverberating ‘Hallelujahs’ when believers sang their praises to God.”

Will your Alleluias shake the ceiling of your church?