202

This Joyful Eastertide

Full Text

1 This joyful Eastertide,
away with sin and sadness!
Our Lord, the crucified,
has filled our hearts with gladness.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
not burst his three-day prison,
our faith would be in vain.
But now has Christ a-risen,
arisen, arisen,
but now has Christ arisen.

2 My being shall rejoice,
secure within God’s keeping,
until the trumpet voice
shall wake us from our sleeping. [Refrain]

3 Death’s waters lost their chill
when Jesus crossed the river.
His love shall reach me still;
his mercy is forever. [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

The text expresses the joy Christ's resurrection brings to believers (st. 1); that joy provides a sense of security throughout our lives (st. 2) and gives confidence even in the face of death (st. 3).
 
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.”
202

This Joyful Eastertide

Call to Worship

God of life,
we praise you for the miracle of Easter.
We pray for great joy for ourselves and for all who come
to worship today to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
We pray especially for those who will join us for worship
and whose lives are filled with pain, loss, or deep sadness.
May they sense how the resurrection is a source of great hope. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 47:39]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

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

Assurance

You know that you were ransomed
from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold,
but with the precious blood of Christ,
like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
He was destined before the foundation of the world,
but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.
Through him you have come to trust in God,
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are set on God.
—1 Peter 1:18-21, 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

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
202

This Joyful Eastertide

Hymn Story/Background

George R. Woodward wrote the text of this “joyful” Easter carol to fit the Dutch tune, VRUCHTEN tune, which was originally associated with a love song. The text expresses the joy Christ's resurrection brings to believers (st. 1); that joy provides a sense of security throughout our lives (st. 2) and gives confidence even in the face of death (st. 3). The hymn was first published in Woodward's Carols for Easter and Ascension (1894), which later became a part of the 1902 edition of his famous Cowley Carol Book.
 
VRUECHTEN is originally a seventeenth-century Dutch folk tune for the love song "De liefde Voortgebracht." It became a hymn tune in Joachim Oudaen's David' s Psalmen (1685) as a setting for "Hoe groot de vruchten zijn."
 
The tune is distinguished by the melismas that mark the end of stanza lines and by the rising sequences in the refrain, which provide a fitting word painting for "arisen." Although the melody has a wide range, it has become a popular Easter carol in modern hymnals. The harmonization by Dale Grotenhuis makes for glorious part singing. Use medium organ accompaniment, possibly with a trumpet stop or real trumpets.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Educated at Caius College in Cambridge, England, George R. Woodward (b. Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, 1848; d. Highgate, London, England, 1934) was ordained in the Church of England in 1874. He served in six parishes in London, Norfolk, and Suffolk. He was a gifted linguist and translator of a large number of hymns from Greek, Latin, and German. But Woodward's theory of translation was a rigid one–he held that the translation ought to reproduce the meter and rhyme scheme of the original as well as its contents. This practice did not always produce singable hymns; his translations are therefore used more often today as valuable resources than as congregational hymns. With Charles Wood he published three series of The Cowley Carol Book (1901, 1902, 1919), two editions of Songs of Syon (1904, 1910), An Italian Carol Book (1920), and the Cambridge Carol Book (1924). Much of the unfamiliar music introduced in The English Hymnal (1906) resulted from Woodward's research. He also produced an edition of the Piae Cantiones of 1582 (1910) and published a number of his translations in Hymns of the Greek Church (1922).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, Mi, 2012) was a member of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee, was professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and is a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal.
— Bert Polman
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