206

Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

"Christ Is Alive" is a joyful celebration of Christ's resurrection (st. 1) and of his personal rule in a human world in which pain, war, and injustice abound (st. 2-4). Christ’s transcendent and immanent reign is empowered by the Holy Spirit and will ultimately bring about a new creation (st. 5).  
 
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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Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing

Confession

Almighty God,
in raising Jesus from the grave,
you shattered the power of sin and death.
We confess that we remain captive to doubt and fear,
bound by the ways that lead to death.
We overlook the poor and the hungry
and pass by those who mourn;
we are deaf to the cries of the oppressed
and indifferent to calls for peace;
we despise the weak
and abuse the earth you made.
Forgive us, God of mercy.
Help us to trust your power
to change our lives and make us new,
that we may know the joy of life abundant
given in Jesus Christ, the risen Lord. Amen.
[BCW, p 317[271], 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

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

This office the Lord Jesus most willingly undertook,
and in order to discharge its obligations
he was born under the law and perfectly fulfilled it.
He endured most grievous torments in his soul
and most painful sufferings in his body;
he was crucified, died, and was buried;
he remained under the power of death,
yet his body did not undergo decay;
and he arose from the dead on the third day
with the same body in which he had suffered.
In this body he ascended into heaven,
where he sits at the right hand of his Father, making intercession,
and he shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the age.
The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself—
which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up to God—
has fully satisfied the justice of his Father.
He purchased not only reconciliation
but also an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven
for all whom the Father has given to him.
—from Westminster Confession (MESV), Chap. VIII, Sec. 4-5
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Blessing/Benediction

O Lord, though you were rich,
for our sakes you became poor.
You have promised in your gospel
that whatever is done to the least,
you will receive as done to you.
Give us grace, we humbly ask you,
to be ever willing and ready to minister, as you enable us,
to the necessities of our brothers and sisters,
and to extend the blessings of your kingdom
over all the world, to your praise and glory,
God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
[Augustine of Hippo (354-430), PD]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
God of life,
we rejoice in the resurrection of your Son,
his defeat over death, and his gift of new life.
We praise you for the reflections of that new life
in creation . . .
in nations and governments around the world . . .
in the ministry of the church universal . . .
in our community as it . . .
in the sacrifice of those who serve . . .
in our new life in Christ . . .
To you as the giver of new life and renewed hope
we bring our prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray all this in your name, the Lord and giver of life. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Risen and reigning Lord,
truly you are a high priest
who has passed through the heavens.
Truly you were tested as we are,
and yet were without sin.
With boldness we approach your throne,
deeply assured of your mercy and grace
in our time of need.
And so we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
give hope to your people.
May all who live without hope today
taste and see that you are good.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning call us, your people,
to testify to your goodness.
Equip each of us today
to be bold witnesses of Easter news.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
call all the nations of the world
to stop their scheming and seek your peace.
May your Spirit convict all people
to submit to your rule and to pursue true peace.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
call each of us to turn from the path of death
to the path of obedience and life.
Send your Spirit to strengthen our resolve,
and help us to live as people of life and light.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
bring life and light and healing.
May all who suffer in the valley of the shadow of death and disease
know your healing presence.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
are firstfruits of all that is to come:
justice, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit.
May your kingdom come quickly.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
May we, your Easter people,
never fail to bless and thank you
for your immeasurable love and sure promises.
All praise to you, risen Christ,
who with the Father and the Spirit lives
in perfect communion forever and ever. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You, O Christ, are Lord of all creation.
You are exalted above all.
Every knee will bow,
and every tongue will confess that you are Lord!
We join with all creation
and sing of your glory: “Alleluia, Amen!”
By your death and resurrection you conquered evil.
By your Spirit sustain us in our struggle with the powers of evil.
By your resurrection you lead us from death to life.
By your Spirit unite us to you,
and help us turn away from sin
and toward life everlasting.
By your resurrection you evoked worship from astonished guards
and gave your disciples joy and peace that surpass understanding.
By your Spirit help us to live our lives
in resurrection-shaped gratitude, joy, and peace.
[After a brief silence, the leader continues the prayer:]
God of grace and glory,
whether we are weak or strong,
old or young,
struggling or flourishing,
help us to see Jesus, our risen Lord.
Give us joy in the knowledge that
your Spirit unites us with Jesus,
helps us cross over from death to life,
and strengthens us to live an Easter life
both now and forever.
We pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two
206

Christ Is Alive! Let Christians Sing

Hymn Story/Background

Brian A. Wren wrote the text in Hockley, Essex, England, during April of 1968. Wren writes:
It was written for Easter Sunday, two weeks after the assassina­tion of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I could not let Easter go by without speaking of this tragic event which was on all our minds. . . . The hymn tries to see God's love winning over tragedy and suffering in the world. . . . There is tension and tragedy in these words, not just Easter rejoicing.
 
First published in the British supplement New Church Praise (1975), the text was revised by Wren in 1978.
 
"Christ Is Alive" is a joyful celebration of Christ's resurrection (st. 1) and of his personal rule in a human world in which pain, war, and injustice abound (st. 2-4). Christ’s transcendent and immanent reign is empowered by the Holy Spirit and will ultimately bring about a new creation (st. 5).
 
TRURO is an anonymous tune, first published in Thomas Williams's Psalmodia Evangelica, (second vol., 1789) as a setting for Isaac Watts' "Now to the Lord a noble song." The tune is named for an ancient city in Cornwall, England, famous for its cathedral and for its pottery.
 
TRURO's opening phrase ascends the octave. The entire tune is influenced by George F. Handel's style. Sing stanzas 1 and 5 in unison, stanzas 2-4 in harmony with stanza 4 unaccompa­nied. Use clear articulation on the organ and a moderate tempo. Wren believes that more meditative tunes than TRURO are also appropriate for this text; try ROCKINGHAM.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Brian Wren (b. Romford, Essex, England, 1936) is a major British figure in the revival of contemporary hymn writing. He studied French literature at New College and theology at Mansfield College in Oxford, England. Ordained in 1965, he was pastor of the Congregational Church (now United Reformed) in Hockley and Hawkwell, Essex, from 1965 to 1970. He worked for the British Council of Churches and several other organizations involved in fighting poverty and promoting peace and justice. This work resulted in his writing of Education for Justice (1977) and Patriotism and Peace (1983). With a ministry throughout the English-speaking world, Wren now resides in the United States where he is active as a freelance lecturer, preacher, and full-time hymn writer. His hymn texts are published in Faith Looking Forward (1983), Praising a Mystery (1986), Bring Many Names (1989), New Beginnings (1993), and Faith Renewed: 33 Hymns Reissued and Revised (1995), as well as in many modern hymnals. He has also produced What Language Shall I Borrow? (1989), a discussion guide to inclusive language in Christian worship.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Regarding T. Williams, virtually nothing is known about this eighteenth-century British editor of the two-volume Psalmodia Evangelica, a collection of three-part psalm and hymn tunes for “Churches, Chapels, and Dissenting Meetings in England, Scotland, and Ireland.”
— Bert Polman
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