Once again it is a favourite hymn that springs into my mind as I celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord (aka Easter!). Here is the opening chorus verse (R/) in my (slightly improved) version!
Isn’t it great? A shout of joy and triumph over all the misery and suffering in the world and even of the last week – Holy Week can sometimes be an emotional struggle too.
I love this hymn because musically it is the most varied – and for congregations – the most demanding hymn they will ever sung. And some years I made everyone sing it in procession as well! (Of course we had music rehearsals each week so as to make sure everyone could let rip with confidence!) If you have never sung it yourself follow this link because – once you get used to the fact the hymn has THREE tunes – it is a joy!
The hymn makes the traditional and age-old connection between Easter and the new life of the resurrection and spring, the season in which it comes. Some people say this was the church ‘taking over’ the old pagan rites of the agricultural year. Quite the opposite! It was rejoicing with them at the new understanding that Christ’s baptism of everyone and all things, brought. The resurrection is not just a historical event about the life of Christ in the past – it is the revolutionary change to the whole universe then, now, and for ever!
No indeed, Christ’s resurrection is not just a historical event about the life of Christ in the past – it is the revolutionary change that Christ brings about for the whole universe then, now and for ever! He is changed and we are changed with Him. Alleluia! How lovely it is to ring out that word too! (I must try to write a sentence without an exclamation mark! Oops!)
There is something so ‘spring cleaning’ about Easter. Think of those days when you wake up with the sun streaming through the windows and you want to leap out of bed, run down to the stream or the sea and plunge in – ok those days may have long gone for many of us, but we can always imagine them! The joy of the resurrection is that it inspires such imaginative leaps. It asks us to imagine – and believe – in the ‘impossible’. That is how the world gets changed – and it’s not just the saints and martyrs who ‘imagine’ a better world into being either, but scientists, poets and yes, even you and me. WE can imagine a better world and let that strong hope and belief spur us to action for justice and peace.
And now let’s ‘sing-along’ with the hymn! What fun!