Easter Hymns: Awake, Glad Soul

Words: John S. B. Monsell, 1857

Music: Rachel Henkle, 2015

Click to listen:

 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-24198G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 
Matthew 28:5-6

He is RISEN!

I hope you have a blessed day celebrating Jesus resurrection. We are looking forward to a morning at church and an afternoon with family. Looks like the weather is going to be beautiful and I am anticipating another epic Henkle Easter Egg Hunt!

I had an interesting thing happen to me on Thursday night at band practice for this morning’s service. We made a few changes to the song list for the day, and wanted to add one more worship song to our list. We flipped through our songs looking for something upbeat, familiar and fun and chose an old hymn that seemed to fit nicely. But as we sang through it, I realized that the song mentioned Jesus’ life on earth, his prayer in the garden, his walk to Calvary and his death on the cross, and then the glorious day when believers see Jesus face to face heaven. I have sung this song many times, but I never noticed what it doesn’t include. The song skips right over the resurrection. 

So, I went home and googled “Easter Hymns” and one of the first things I found on one of my favorite hymn websites was a list of no less than 312 Easter Hymns. I didn’t have to scroll down the list very far to find the song I posted today. It just might be my new favorite.

Traditionally, Easter marks the end of a six week period of fasting and preparation. My community prepared for Easter with services each day during Holy Week. I was moved by the chance to gather together and focus our attention on the cross. I have been immersed in Lenten hymns during my little project on the blog and I finished the season of Lent with a greater understanding of my certain death without Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the price for my sin. And that to has given me moments of worship and gratitude and awe for Jesus, my Savior.

But isn’t it strange that we prepare and fast and focus for six weeks on Jesus suffering and death, only to have Easter Sunday come and go like the 5-minute free-for-all egg hunt we attended this morning with our kids? When we were searching for an song to add to our worship set, I realized that our body of music is very focused on the cross, the death of Jesus. Don’t get me wrong – that is so important. But, it seems that we are not singing about the fact that JESUS IS ALIVE nearly as much as we are singing about him dying. 

I don’t know if your church has the same skew, but I believe that what we sing affects what we believe and know. Jesus’ death and resurrection must go hand in hand. One does not make sense without the other. As cheesy at it sounds, Christians should be celebrating, talking about, and living in light of Easter all year long. This is the event that changed the course of human history forever. 

It turns out that the church calendar helps us extend the celebration for more than just one day a year. Today marks the beginning of the Easter season, and it lasts for the next 50 days. If you have any influence over what your congregation sings, think about keeping the Easter hymns and songs in the rotation during the next 7 Sundays. Once you know a bunch of great Resurrection songs, keep singing them throughout the year. I am planning to post some more Easter hymns on the blog during the next 50 days as well.

If you went to church today, what songs did you sing? Do you have any favorite Easter hymns? Let me know in the comments below!

Christ, the Life of All the Living – guest post by Chris Tripolino

Original German Text: Ernst C. Homburg, 1659
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863

The hymn today is from my good friend Chris Tripolino. Check out his website at christripolino.com and enjoy this excellent Lenten hymn.

Christ the life of all the living
Christ the death of death our foe
Who himself for me once giving
To the darkest depths of woe
That as yours, then you might have me
And have truest treasure for me
Praise and glory ever be
To him who loved, yes even me

You O Christ have taken on you
bonds and stripes a cruel rod
pain and scorn were heaped upon you
Oh sinless Son of God
Comfortless once you did languish
Me to comfort in my anguish
Praise and glory ever be
To him who loved, yes even me

Praise and glory ever be
To him who loved, yes even me

Lenten Silence – guest post by Tempa Haines

          I am many things. I am a teacher. I am a friend. I am a fan of Diet Coke with Lime. I am a lover of monkeys and words and correct grammar. I am a hater of egos and running and meatloaf. Ew, meatloaf!! I am a singer, a giggler, a guitar player- “functional, at best.” However, some of these things are changeable, assuming I out grow them… or my tastes evolve… or my life takes me down a different path, but there is one thing that I think will never change. I am a talker. I always have been.  Growing up, my parents were never shocked to hear “Tempa is quite friendly, isn’t she?” as a lead-in to the bad behavior conversation at parent-teacher conferences. Most people were kind and called me things like a “social butterfly” or commented on how I “make friends easily”, but really… I talked too much. I still do!! I process emotion verbally… actually, I process everything verbally. I just talk a lot.

            I think that’s probably why I like words. It’s hard not to love something you use so frequently, right? As an adult, I find myself talking all the time. All. The. Time.  In teaching, in texting, in chatting with friends. Unfortunately, my Chatty-Kathy nature doesn’t end with my job or my time with those with whom I share my life. I find myself filling even my prayer life with my own words. A lot of words, although usually inside my own head, scrambled in some adjective-heavy Word Burrito. I sit down to pray, but it ends with me telling God all the ideas I have that might “fix” all my issues or making a to-do list of the things I need to accomplish in order to overcome an obstacle. I sit down to listen, but all I’m doing is filling the empty space reserved for HIS words with my own. It’s the truth… my “Quiet Time” is rarely quiet.

            If I’m being 100% honest with you, quiet is unnatural to me. I have slept with the radio on for as long as I can remember. I often turn on my Ipod when I study for things or read. I turn on the TV when I walk into a room. Not because I want to watch the newest episode of “Say Yes to the Dress”, but because I need some sort of audio wallpaper. I need sound, need to hear SOMETHING. I think it’s because the silence scares me. Maybe there’s something in silence that makes me feel alone… and I don’t like that. Not one bit. 

           But yet I know the Lord asks us to “Be Still” (Psalm 46:10) and I know that Scripture is riddled with commands to “wait” and “be silent”. (Ex 14:14, Ps 37:7, Ps 62:5, Lam 3:26…etc)So silence in itself can not be a bad thing. In fact, I have no doubt that the discipline of silence is probably something that we all should utilize from time to time. Even us “talkers”.  As with anything, practice makes perfect, right? So, this year, during the Lenten season, I wanted to do just that… practice the discipline of Silence. I wanted to learn what it feels like to just be quiet. Be Still. 

            So, I sat down at my kitchen table a few weeks ago and prepared my heart (and my mind) for… well, nothing.  Homemade iced caramel macchiato in hand, I thanked the Lord for the desire to seek stillness and I asked Him to speak. I asked for the strength to just sit and listen. I asked for the courage to be still.

            Friends, I wish I could tell you that this was easy. I wish I could say that I relished in God’s voice and I was given a peace and comfort that I had not yet experienced… but that would be a lie. It was hard. I could barely keep my mind from reviewing my plans for the day or replaying a conversation I had with a new friend the night before. It was hard to not check my phone to see if I had missed a text message and hard not to begin over-thinking my own faults and short-comings. Stillness was hard and, honestly, I probably wasted the first few minutes of the first few days catching myself doing exactly what I set out NOT to do. But, eventually, over the course of the last 33 days, my mind stilled and I was able to focus on the One who continues to call me to Himself.

 I was still.

I was silent.

And I was refreshed.

                                    “…a time to be silent and a time to speak…” Ecclesiastes 3:7b

Tempa Haines is Director of Youth Ministries at Trinity Bible Church in Cedar Falls Iowa  www.cedarfallstrinity.org  She is in the process of writing a book with the hopes of being finished by Fall 2015.