I have a deep appreciation for Charles Wesley, brother of Methodism’s founder, John. A prolific hymn writer and gifted musician, Charles penned more than 6,000 hymns, many of which continue to speak deep theological truths to us today.
One of my favorite Wesley hymns is “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”* The words are particularly meaningful to me this Easter season against the backdrop of challenges like my Dad’s recent death, the conflict in our beloved United Methodist Church and increased polarization in our nation and world.
“Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!”
Today we celebrate the reality that Jesus Christ is risen! The news is so expansive and far-reaching that any response short of a life filled with praise for God (i.e. a life that through word and deed says Alleluia) is insufficient. Alleluia!
“Love’s redeeming work is done. Alleluia! Fought the fight the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise. Alleluia!”
God’s most profound demonstration of love for humanity is found in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Through Jesus we can experience forgiveness for our past, freedom from the guilt of our mistakes and God’s transforming work in our lives. Alleluia!
“Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia. Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!”
The crucified, dead and buried Jesus lives again. His resurrection has broken the power of sin and death. When we stand at the grave of a loved one, we still grieve their passing, but death and the grave are no longer the final word. Alleluia!
“Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!”
On this Easter Sunday 2019 we honor Jesus Christ who reigns over earth and heaven. His resurrection from the dead is witness to who he is, the Son of the Triune God, our Savior and Redeemer. Alleluia!
Wesley’s words are a reminder of how to respond to the amazing love of God expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Live a life that says in word and action, “Alleluia!”
As always it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference
(*Christ The Lord is Risen Today, United Methodist Hymnal, 1989)