Easter Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog
Sunday, April 1 2018
Isa 25:6-9, Ps 118:1-2,14-14, John 20:1-18
by Paul Stott
VU 158-Christ Is Alive! (1968)
Brian Wren wrote this text while serving at Hockley Congregational Church in Essex, England. It was written for the Easter service in 1968, ten days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The text reflects the struggle to express Easter joy and hope in the face of the world’s need for healing and justice for all. The text has been revised over the years to reflect more inclusive language and changing theological perspective. Wren, born in England and ordained in the Congregational Church, now lives in the United States with partner Rev. Susan Heafield, a United Methodist Pastor and composer. As well as being the author of many widely used hymn texts, Wren has written several books related to hymnology, including What Language Shall I Borrow (1989), which explores the range of imagery that can be brought to hymnody.
The tune, TRURO, has been attributed at various times to George Frederick Handel and Charles Burney, but there is no reliable evidence for either of these attributions. It may have been composed by the editor of Musica Sacra, being a Choice Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, and Chants (Bath, c. 1778) in which it first appeared. TRURO is the cathedral city of Cornwall, in southwest England.
MV 145-Draw the Circle Wide (1994)
Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald, (a United Church Minister) along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.
VU 155-Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (1708)
This hymn has a long and varied derivation. The first three stanzas are from three anonymous Latin verses from the fourteenth century, beginning Surrexit Christus Hodie, probably written as a trope on the Benedicamus Domino, sung at the end of prayer offices and masses. A number of German translations were made of the Latin trope, which then influenced the English translation which first appeared anonymously in Lyra Davidica (London, 1708). The fourth stanza is a doxology by Charles Wesley, from his Hymns and Sacred Poems (London, 1740).
The tune, EASTER HYMN, first appeared in Lyra Davidica. It is an extraordinary tune for its time, a precursor of the more exuberant tunes of the Evangelical revival later in the century.
VU 177-This Joyful Eastertide (1894)
This familiar Easter carol was written to go with the tune VRUECHTEN by George R. Woodward, a Cambridge scholar and Anglican priest, who collaborated on the editing and publishing of several books of carols and hymns. The text was first published in Carols for
Easter and Ascension (1894). The refrain relies on 1 Corinthians 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (NRS) VREUCHTEN is a 17th century Dutch song, which was revised into a sacred setting for J. Oudaen’s volume of David’s Psalmen (Amsterdam, 1695).