Christ has arisen, alleluia.
Rejoice and praise him, alleluia.
For our redeemer burst from the tomb,
even from death, dispelling its gloom.
Let us sing praise to him with endless joy.
Death's fearful sting he has come to destroy.
Our sin forgiving, alleluia!
Jesus is living, alleluia!
[Evangelical Lutheran Worship #364]
My sisters and brothers in Christ of the Northeastern Ohio Synod,
Every Easter I am always drawn to the hymn,
Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia!
There are few hymns that make me want to clap my hands more than this one. It is a traditional Tanzanian tune titled Mfurahini, Haleluya. The original text to the hymn was written by Bernard Kyamanyawa and the English translation by Howard S. Olson.
I actually first heard it sung as a gathering hymn at a funeral for the wife of a seminary professor some fifteen years ago and immediately fell in love with the melody. The feeling it evokes within me is one of sheer joy, unlike any other piece of music that I love - and I
Kyamanywa, now a Lutheran pastor in Tanzania, was an orphan who was taken in by a Mission and raised by a German deaconess. When asked about his popular hymn, he said: "I had a need to proclaim God's word."
The Gospel reading from Luke for this Sunday of the Resurrection tells us that the women who went to the tomb were perplexed when they found it empty that first Easter morning. But when the men in dazzling clothes reminded them what Jesus had told them, he would be crucified and on the third day rise again, our reading tells us that:
Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
Like the women on that first Easter morning, it is hard to contain ourselves when we are given good news. We must share and tell others. Like Pastor Kyamanywa, we should feel a need to proclaim God's word.
May this Easter fill you with the joy of the Good News. So much so that you feel a burning need to proclaim it and share it.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, Alleluia!