April 15, 2019

      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]
The readings for April 21, 2019, the Resurrection of Our Lord, are as follows:

The Resurrection - Christ appears to Mary
There are few hymns that make me want to clap my hands more than Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia! The first verse and refrain is posted above. 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 one of my seminary professors some nineteen 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 love music.
If played and sung well, it is hard to restrain oneself to keep from clapping, and even stomping, in rhythm. It sounds even better when sung in Swahili, but a version I had seen years ago apparently is nowhere to be found.
The one I am sharing here, from Youtube, is perhaps the one that comes closest to the joy I felt at my first introduction to the tune. Listen, enjoy, and may the blessings of Easter fill you with joy and hope.
In preparing for my Tuesday in Holy Week sermon, I came across the following quote by Thomas Merton. Those who attend tomorrow's liturgy will hear it again, but I share it here with those who won't be in attendance:
"If, at the moment of our death, death comes to us as an unwelcome stranger, it will be because Christ also has always been to us an unwelcome stranger. For when death comes, Christ comes also, bringing us to the everlasting life which He has bought for us by His own death."[1]  
I also find myself resonating with a reflection I read about three years ago from The Rev. Kira Austin-Young in Ministry Matters. She states:
"In the midst of an incredibly divisive and tense political season, this year I find myself in need of Holy Week more than ever. Perhaps perversely, I've always looked forward to Holy Week. This is, after all, the pinnacle of the church year, leading up to the reason we are here as Christians in the first place - the resurrection. Holy Week and Easter don't have the same kind of secular consumerist baggage as Christmastime, even with the emphasis on candy and bunnies and egg hunts... Christ is calling to us now, to walk with him to the cross and beyond, to place our hope in the power of the empty tomb, to be forged into true Christian community. This year, every year, we need Holy Week."
Regular readers to this weekly reflection know of my fondness for the artwork from the Jesus Mafa Community of Cameroon, West Africa. Although I make no direct reference to any of the readings this week, I wanted to post a few Holy Week pieces from that collection, courtesy of the digital library of Vanderbilt University. In order, left to right, they are:
  1. Jesus washes the disciple's feet
  2. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
  3. Peter denies Jesus
  4. Jesus dies on the cross
  5. The Resurrection - Jesus appears to Mary
Hopefully, you may find them of some use as you prepare for the holiest week of the Christian year.


I realize that many of you have already printed or are about to print Easter bulletins and I have yet to write an Easter message. I will make every effort to have it ready to go on Wednesday, although I realize it may not make some of your publications.
Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday of Holy Week, I will be with the Rostered Ministers of our synod at our annual Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oil liturgy at Trinity Lutheran Church in Kent.

On Good Friday evening, I will be with the people of God at New Covenant Lutheran Church in East Cleveland as we observe and reflect on the Last Seven Words of Jesus.
The Lutheran Center will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Also, for the next two weeks, Monday Musings will publish on Tuesday, as we also will be close on Monday, April 29, because of Synod Council on the 27 th.
This Easter and always, may the Lord be your Strength, your Song, and your Salvation, and may you be glad and rejoice forever in what God is creating.
+Bishop Abraham Allende

[1]  Merton, Thomas. "Silence." A Thomas Merton Reader. Ed. Thomas P. McDonnell. New York: Doubleday, 1974. 462. Print.