184

Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing

Further Reflections on Scripture References

A strong text for Easter, "Good Christians All" rings in the victory of Christ's resurrections so that "all the world" will know the news. Each stanza encourages us to tell the good news and praise the "Lord of life," and ends with an exciting three-fold "alleluia."
 
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.”
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Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing

Call to Worship

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life,
and may have it to the full.”
—from John 10:10, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

In life and in death we belong to God.
Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
we trust in the one triune God, the Holy One of Israel,
whom alone we worship and serve.
We trust in Jesus Christ,
fully human, fully God.
Jesus proclaimed the reign of God:
preaching good news to the poor
and release to the captives,
forgiving sinners,
and calling all to repent and believe the gospel.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition,
Jesus was crucified,
suffering the depths of human pain
and giving his life for the sins of the world.
God raised Jesus from the dead,
vindicating his sinless life,
breaking the power of sin and evil,
delivering us from death to life eternal.
With believers in every time and place,
we rejoice that nothing in life or in death
can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
—from A Brief Statement of Faith
— 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

Assurance

God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
and raised us up with him and seated us with him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come he might show
the immeasurable riches of his grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
—Ephesians 2:4-7, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

If we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord
and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead,
we will be saved.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
—based on Romans 10:9, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

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

Jesus Christ is the hope of God’s world.
In his death,
the justice of God is established;
forgiveness of sin is proclaimed.
On the day of his resurrection,
the tomb was empty; his disciples saw him;
death was defeated; new life had come.
God’s purpose for the world was sealed.
—from Our Song of Hope, st. 4
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

O Father God of the risen Christ,
in whose resurrection we find new life,
send your Spirit to dwell among us in this day of worship.
O risen Christ, Son of the Father,
may we hear your word of peace today.
O Spirit of the living God,
teach us once more to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection,
in whose name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
184

Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing

Tune Information

Name
GELOBT SEI GOTT
Key
C Major
Meter
8.8.8 with alleluias 4.4.4

Recordings

184

Good Christians All, Rejoice and Sing

Hymn Story/Background

While Headmaster of Eton College, Cyril A. Alington wrote this text for Melchior Vulpius's tune GELOBT SEI GOTT. The hymn was published in Songs of Praise (1931). Stanley L. Osborne has written of Alington's stanzas, “They vibrate with excitement, they utter the encouragement of victory, and they stir the heart to praise and thanksgiving" (If Such Holy Song, 469). This text should not be mistaken for its Christmas counter­part "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice" (98); both texts originally began, "Good Christian men, rejoice."
 
A strong text for Easter, "Good Christians All" rings in the victory of Christ's resurrections so that "all the world" will know the news. Each stanza encourages us to tell the good news and praise the "Lord of life," and ends with an exciting three-fold "alleluia."
 
Melchior Vulpius composed this tune as a setting for Michael Weisse's hymn "Gelobt sei Gott in höchsten Thron." Weisse's text was published with the tune in Vulpius's Ein Schon Geistlich Gesangbuch (1609). Because the text dates from the early sixteenth century, some scholars think the tune may have older roots.
 
An exuberant tune, GELOBT SEI GOTT (also known as VULPIUS) is in triple meter. It reveals a Baroque playfulness in the syncopations in lines 2 and 3. Although the refrain is barred in triple meter, Germans would have sung it in duple meter with an accent on the second syllable of "alleluia."
 
Sing in unison or in parts. Try an antiphonal performance in which the choir or antiphonal groups sing the stanzas and the congregation sings the refrain. Choir sopranos could sing the descant by Emily R. Brink that appears in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal on the refrain. Try also to sing one of the middle stanzas unaccompanied. Use strong, rhythmically precise organ accompaniment, especially on the cadences in phrases 2 and 3. On an average Sunday C major is a suitable key, but try D major on Easter Sunday or other festive days because that key is brighter. "Good Christians All" is also a wonderful piece for a brass choir.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Educated at Trinity College, Oxford, England, Cyril A. Alington (b. Ipswich, England, 1872; d. St. Leonards, Hertfordshire, England, 1955)  was ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1901. He had a teaching career that included being headmaster at Shrewsbury School and Eton College. He was dean of Durham from 1933-1951 as well as chaplain to the king of England. His writings include literary works and Christianity in England, Good News (1945). Many of his hymns appeared in various twentieth-century editions of the famous British hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Born into a poor family named Fuchs, Melchior Vulpius (b. Wasungen, Henneberg, Germany, c. 1570; d. Weimar, Germany, 1615) had only limited educational oppor­tunities and did not attend the university. He taught Latin in the school in Schleusingen, where he Latinized his surname, and from 1596 until his death served as a Lutheran cantor and teacher in Weimar. A distinguished composer, Vulpius wrote a St. Matthew Passion (1613), nearly two hundred motets in German and Latin, and over four hundred hymn tunes, many of which became popular in Lutheran churches, and some of which introduced the lively Italian balletto rhythms into the German hymn tunes. His music was published in Cantiones Sacrae (1602, 1604), Kirchengesangund Geistliche Lieder (1604, enlarged as Ein schon geistlich Gesanglmch, 1609), and posthumous­ly in Cantionale Sacrum (1646).
— Bert Polman
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