Lessons and Hymns, Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

by the Rev. William P. McLemore

SCRIPTURE REFLECTIONS:  There are all sorts of choices for collects and readings on this principal feast of our Church.  For the Old Testament, it’s Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6.  The Psalm is 188:1-2, 14-24 “The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”  Then for the Epistle, there’s Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43.  The Gospel choice is between John 20:1-18 and Matthew 28:1-10.  Suffice it to say that this Sunday will be the annual celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ!  He is Risen!  Alleluia!




PROCESSIONAL HYMN:   No. 207.  “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”   This classic hymn for Easter dates back to a  14th century Bohemian carol.  Over the years, it has been continuously altered and the fourth and final verse was written by Charles Wesley.  The tune, “Easter Hymn,” is from the English, “Lyrica Davidica,” published in London in 1708.


THE SEQUENCE HYMN:   No. 296.  “We Know That Christ is Raised.”  This hymn is based on Romans 6:3-11, “Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  The text was written by John Brownlow Geyer in 1969 and was born in 1932 in Yorkshire, England.  The tune, “Engleberg,” is a melody composed by Charles Villers Stanford (1852-1924) in 1904.  The music meter is 10 10 10 with alleluias.


PRESENTATION HYMN:   No. 191.  “Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts and Voices Heaven-ward Raise.”  This hymn is one of two Easter hymns in Christopher Wordsworth’s “Hymns for Sundays and Holy Days” published in 1862.  Bishop Wordsworth was the primate for the Diocese of Lincoln in England and the nephew of the poet with the same name.  He was born October 30, 1807 and died March 21, 1885 shortly after he resigned his episcopate.  The tune, “Lux Eoi,” was composed by Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900) around 1874.


COMMUNION HYMN:  No. 174. “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing.”  This hymn is very ancient and emerges in Latin in the breviary of Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644).  It has been translated into English by Robert Campbell (1814-1868).   The tune, “Salzburg,” is a melody by Jakob Hintze (1622-1702) and harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).  “Hymns of glory, songs of praise, Father, unto thee we raise: risen Lord, all praise to thee with the Spirit ever be.”


RECESSIONAL HYMN:   No.  182.  “Christ Is Alive!” The author of this new hymn is Brian Wren (b. 1936), Emeritus Professor of Worship, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is a writer, preacher, liturgics scholar, and internationally published hymn-poet. Brian is a Minister of the United Reformed Church (UK).  Hope Publishing Company owns the 1975 copyrights to the text.  The hymn reflects the sacrificial nature of Our Lord’s Resurrection.  Here is the 4th verse: “In every insult, rift and war where color, scorn, or wealth divide, he suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives though ever crucified.”  The tune, “Truro,” is from a 1789 Psalm Book, harmonized by Lowell Mason (1792-1872).