A Present Tense Reality
There is one song, which for me, more than any other makes Easter worship happen — “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Whenever we sing it, the melody and words follow me home from church. The tune and lyrics tumble around in my head and heart late into the day. They prompt me to utter spontaneous prayers of praise to God, and other kinds of prayer – prayers on behalf of others who still struggle in the darkness, who still live unaware of God’s love and concern for them.
The Easter hymn, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” was put to a “new” tune back in the early 1700’s! The original was far less spirited and upbeat, and did not include the “alleluias.” Imagine singing Charles Wesley’s hymn without these triumphant bursts of praise.What would Christianity be without the alleluias? What response could we give to the truth, and profound personal and eternal impact of Christ’s resurrection, if not our glad and immediate shouts of praise and adoration? What response could follow our praise if not our passionate concern for the lives of those around us? Recognizing the God of Easter Resurrection introduces us to the power of Christ’s demanding love for our neighbour.
When Charles wrote the hymn’s original eleven stanzas, he was eager to get the gospel to people who might never have heard it before. He was giving the church a tool for both worship and evangelism. Both are still equally important and remain our great opportunity this Easter, and every other day. The Good News remains a “present tense” reality. “Christ the Lord IS risen, today.”
Over 2,000 years ago Jesus’ body was taken down from a Roman cross and laid in a burial tomb. After three days, what his disciples discovered was not a buried corpse, but a Risen Saviour! Over the next forty days they and others saw him, heard him, and began testifying to the fact that he had indeed risen, just as he said. Let’s do the same – see the power of Christ alive in us, hear his words of encouragement and hope, and begin sharing the love to which he introduces the world. It is in us to give!