179

Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven

Full Text

1 Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heaven and voices raise.
Sing to God a hymn of gladness,
sing to God a hymn of praise.
He who on the cross a victim
for the world’s salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the King of glory,
now is risen from the dead.

2 Alleluia, Christ is risen!
Death at last has met defeat.
See the ancient powers of evil
in confusion and retreat.
Once he died and once was buried;
now he lives forevermore —
Jesus Christ, the world’s Redeemer,
whom we worship and adore.

3 Christ is risen, Christ the first-fruits
of the holy harvest yield,
which will all its full abundance
at his second coming yield.
Then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before him wave,
ripened by his glorious sunshine
from the furrows of the grave.

4 Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to God on high;
alleluia! to the Savior,
who has won the victory;
alleluia! to the Spirit,
fount of love and sanctity;
alleluia, alleluia!
to the triune Majesty.

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text proclaims the meaning of Christ's resurrection. The "alleluias" that begin stanzas 1, 2, and 4 and run throughout stanza 4 lift this teaching hymn to a high level of praise. The entire text is influenced by Paul's resurrection discourse in 1 Corinthians 15:1-28.
 
Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Easter hymns accomplish three functions: they recount the Easter narrative, proclaim our Easter hope, and celebrate our joy at Christ’s resurrection. This hymn is built on the professions of Easter truths that are expressed primarily in Heidelberg Catechism. Note especially the following:
  • Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 declares that Christ’s resurrection makes us share in Christ’s righteousness, raises us to a new life by his power, and is a sure pledge to us of our resurrection.
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 57 comforts us to know that not only our soul but “also my very flesh will be raised by the power of God, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.”
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58 says that it may be a comfort to know that while experiencing the beginning of eternal joy now, “after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.”
In addition, Our Song of Hope, stanza 5 professes: “On the day of the resurrection, the tomb was empty; His disciples saw Him; death was defeated; new life had come. God’s purpose for the world was sealed.”
179

Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven

Call to Worship

Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia!
We know that since Christ was raised from the dead,
he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
The death he died, he died to sin once for all;
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
—based on Romans 6:9-10, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The following may be used at the beginning of an Easter Vigil service. It may also be further
adapted for other occasions of Easter worship.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ,
on this most holy night
when Jesus, our Lord, passed from death to life,
we gather, united with the church throughout the world,
to rehearse again all that God has promised
and to celebrate how all those promises are “Yes” in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
This is the Passover of Jesus Christ.
As people of this Passover,
we tell the whole story of God’s covenanting love.
We celebrate that by God’s grace this story is our story:
that God has grafted us into his Easter people,
helping us to share in Christ’s triumph over sin and death.
On this Passover night, we declare with joy:
“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
In him was life,
and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.”
—based on John 1:1, 4-5
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Since we are justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand;
and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
and hope does not disappoint us,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
In the shadow of God’s peace,
in the powerful name of Jesus,
and with the hope of the Holy Spirit, let us worship God.
—based on Romans 5:1-5, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

Glory to you, O God:
On this day you won victory over death,
raising Jesus from the grave
and giving us eternal life.
Glory to you, O Christ:
For us and for our salvation you overcame death
and opened the gate to everlasting life.
Glory to you, O Holy Spirit:
You lead us into the truth.
Glory to you, O blessed Trinity,
now and forever. Amen.
[BCW-1946, pg 304, alt., PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Eternal and ever-blessed God,
Lord of heaven and earth:
We praise your glorious majesty.
We see your wisdom in all your works;
your grace and truth are revealed in Jesus Christ, your Son;
your power and presence are given to us through your Holy Spirit;
we adore your holy name, O blessed Trinity,
forever and ever. Amen.
[BCW-1946, p 26, alt., PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

We praise you, Holy Father,
for sending your Son to be our Savior.
We praise you, Holy Jesus,
for the promise of sending us a Comforter,
so that you would be with us always.
We praise you for the abundant life we have in you,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forevermore. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have died.
For since death came through a human being,
the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;
for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
—1 Corinthians 15:20-22, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

This is the good news that we have received,
in which we stand, and by which we are saved:
Christ died for our sins, was buried,
was raised on the third day,
and appeared first to the women,
then to Peter and the Twelve,
and then to many faithful witnesses.
We believe Jesus is the Christ,
the Anointed One of God,
the firstborn of all creation,
the firstborn from the dead,
in whom all things hold together,
in whom the fullness of God
was pleased to dwell
by the power of the Spirit.
Christ is the head of the body, the church,
and by the blood of the cross reconciles all things to God. Amen.
—based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Colossians 1:15-20
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Christ has died!
Christ has risen!
Christ will come again!
[ancient source, PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

By his resurrection he has overcome death,
so that he might make us share in the righteousness
he obtained for us by his death.
By his power we too are already raised to a new life.
Christ’s resurrection is a sure pledge to us of our blessed resurrection.
—from Heidelberg Catechism, Q&A 45
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

If Christ is not risen, nothing matters.
Our preaching is then useless
and our faith too.
We are false witnesses about God,
for we have testified that God raised Christ from the dead.
We are still in our sins.
Those who have died are as dead as ever.
We who have pinned our hopes on Jesus
are then the most pitiable of all human beings.
But if Christ is risen, nothing else matters.
Though in Adam all may have died,
in Christ all will then be made alive.
He will destroy every dominion, power, and authority
and put every enemy under his feet.
Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of Christ—
trouble, hardship, persecution, famine,
nakedness, peril, sword,
angels, demons,
the present, the future, nor any powers.
Nothing whatsoever, in fact,
nothing in all creation,
neither height nor depth,
nothing either in life
or in death.
Christ, our Lord, is risen indeed!
Therefore, sisters and brothers, stand firm, let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves wholly to the Lord’s work. Amen!
—based on 1 Corinthians 15; Romans 8
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
179

Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven

Tune Information

Name
EBENEZER
Key
e minor or modal
Meter
8.7.8.7 D

Recordings

179

Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven

Hymn Story/Background

Christopher Wordsworth believed it was "the first duty of a hymn to teach sound doctrine, and thus to save souls." Consequently, many of Wordsworth's texts, including this one, are virtually short sermons in verse form. "Alleluia! Alleluia!" is one of two Easter hymns by Wordsworth in his Holy Year (1862). The text was originally in five stanzas; the original second stanza was not included.
 
The text proclaims the meaning of Christ's resurrection. The "alleluias" that begin stanzas 1, 2, and 4 and run throughout stanza 4 lift this teaching hymn to a high level of praise. The entire text is influenced by Paul's resurrection discourse in 1 Corinthians 15:1-28.
 
EBENEZER originally came from the second movement of an anthem ("Goleu yn y Glyn" or "Light in the Valley") by Welsh composer Thomas John Williams. EBENEZER (meaning "stone of help" in the Bible) is named for the chapel in Rhos, Pontardawe, which Williams attended at the time he composed the tune.
 
First published as a hymn tune in the Baptist Book of Praise (1901), EBENEZER is often associated in Wales with "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah." Because an English folksinger claimed that the tune had been washed up on the Welsh coast in a bottle, the tune is known in some hymnals as TON-Y-BOTL (tune in a bottle).
 
Developed out of the opening motif, EBENEZER is a glorious tune built with just six notes and an energetic rhythmic pattern involving triplets. The tune is a rounded bar form (AABA) in which the "B" lines move momentarily into major. Sing stanzas 1 and 4 in unison and stanzas 2 and 3 in harmony. Sing with vigor and majesty, but do not rush!
 
In Welsh practice the triplet is sung heavily; do not worry about making the dotted rhythms distinct from the triplets. Use rhythmically energetic accompaniment with fairly full organ, adding a crowning mixture and/or reed for stanza 4. Try finishing the final stanza with a major chord.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Christopher Wordsworth (b. Lambeth, London, England, 1807; d. Harewood, Yorkshire, England, 1885), nephew of the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth, was a prolific author and the most renowned Greek scholar of his day. Included in his works are Memoirs of William Wordsworth (1851), Commentary on the Mole Bible (1856-1870), Church History (1881-1883), innumerable sermons and pamphlets, and The Holy Year (1862), which contained 117 of his original hymns as well as 82 others written for all the Sundays and Christian holy days according to the Book of Common Prayer. Wordsworth was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, where he distinguished himself as a brilliant student. He later taught at Trinity College and was headmaster of Harrow School (1836-1844). Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1835, he was canon of Westminster in 1844, a country priest in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire (1850-1869), and then Bishop of Lincoln (1869-1885).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Although his primary vocation was in the insurance business, Thomas John Williams (b. Ynysmeudwy, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1869; d. Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, 1944) studied with David Evans at Cardiff and later was organist and choirmaster at Zion Church (1903­-1913) and Calfaria Church (1913-1931), both in Llanelly. He composed a number of hymn tunes and a few anthems.
— Bert Polman
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