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Excited for Easter

Oh I know I am jumping the gun on Easter. We haven't even gotten to Palm Sunday at but I am so excited for Easter.

You see a been working on another book of the title is nothing else matters and it's all about the resurrection. As I've been researching and writing I came across the singing church. Entitled the chapter the songs of the resurrection because we are a singing church. We have so much to be joyful about that Christians keep writing new hymns of praise about our risen Savior Jesus Christ. So I thought it give you a little bit of a preview of this book and I'm going to post here chapter 2 of nothing else matters songs of the resurrection.

I hope this wets your appetite for Easter and the fact that we serve a risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Songs of the Resurrection

The People of God, whether before the Incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of the virgin Mary, or during his life, death and resurrection and the beginning of what we call the ecclesia (people) or Church has been a singing congregation. In fact, Paul tells us that we should “address on another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” (Eph. 5:19). If anything has stood out to me as a new Lutheran, okay not so new after four years, it is that Lutherans absolutely love to sing. Our hymnal, called the Lutheran Service Book, is replete with songs ancient and modern. From simple melodies of contemporary writers to complex musical renditions of the works of reformers to the chanting and melodious songs of the ancient church we sing throughout the Divine service. Indeed, Christians of every generation have made a joyful noise to the Lord.

Why? Simple. “We serve a risen Savior.” Oh, wait, that’s an older hymn…or in the view of Lutherans, a newer hymn. Our Service Book is in the order of the Church Calendar with the Incarnation leading to the ministry years of Jesus through to the wonderful season of Lent and then the Paschal Feast of Easter. In hymns we join with Christians of every era rejoicing in our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, one of my favorite Lenten hymns is

We sing the praise of Him who died,

Of Him who died upon the cross.

The sinner’s hope let all deride:

For this we count the world but loss.

Throughout the year we sing in the Liturgy

Lamb of God, pure and holy

Who on the cross didst suffer

Ever patient and lowly,

Theyself to score didst offer.

All sins Thou borest for us,

Else had despair reigned o’er us:

Have mercy on us, O Jesus! O Jesus!

Through hymn titles we are told to Go to Dark Gethsemane and Survey the Wondrous Cross. We ask O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken recognizing that In Silent Pain the Eternal Son hangs derelict and still. During Holy Week we look through the Scripture passages at the Sacred Head, Now Wounded. focusing upon Jesus who was Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted whose arms are Upon the Cross Extended and our Lord who is suspended… These images of our Savior dying on the cross of roman execution having been betrayed by a friend, the world can grasp and understand in some small sense. However, what happened on that Sunday morning, before the angels rolled that stone away, is the triumphant message Christians gladly understand, embrace and shout from the rooftops.

And the Word, being His Son, came to us, having put on flesh, revealing both Himself and the Father, giving to us in Himself resurrection from the dead, and eternal life afterwards. And this is Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. - Fragments of the Lost Work of Justin on the Resurrection[1]

On Good Friday, after the Tenebrae Service (an ancient service) those I serve with on the Altar Guild then strip the altar covering it in black paraments and then the congregation leaves the sanctuary in silence meditating on the awful price God paid to redeem humanity and more specifically how “My sins nailed Him there”.

Then, Sunday comes and triumphant chords are stuck and shouts of hallelujah abound as Christians greet each other with “He is Risen!” and the responses in equally jubilant voice echo, “He is Risen, Indeed! Hallelujah!”. Together the Church sings:

Jesus Christ is ris’n today, Alleluia!

Our triumphant holy day, alleluia!

Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!

Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia[2]

Joining with the ancient throng we sing

Christians, to the Paschal Victim

Offer your thankful prises!

The Lamb the sheep has ransomed;

Christ, who only is sinless,

Reconciling sinners to the Father

Death and life have contended

In that combat stupendous

The Prince of life, who died,

Reigns immortal.

Christ indeed from death is risen,

Our new life obtaining

Have mercy, victor King, ever regning

Amen. Alleluia.[3]

As a Lutheran I love all these hymns but when I think of what it must have been like in heaven and for the disciples, whose sorrow was immense, when they realized Jesus was very much alive having conquered sin, death and the devil, my heart and mind immediately go to this hymn: