I’m glad some songs we sing in church are limited-use songs. One example is “Angels We Have Heard on High,” that is thankfully restricted to the season of Christmas celebration. The two “gloria’s” in the refrain repeated with each of the four stanzas seemingly take an hour and a half to get through by themselves. Add to that the awkwardness of trying to keep a congregation of independent singers on the same note at the same time while trying to figure out what “excelsis Deo” means – like I say, I am glad some songs are limited-use.
You may have an opportunity this Easter Sunday to sing the word “alleluia” 16 times in one song. You may initially think that this qualifies as one of those limited-use, let’s-go-through-the-motions holiday church songs. Let me help you not to make that serious mistake.
“Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” written by Charles Wesley, has served the church incredibly well since it was first published in 1739, over 250 years ago. Wesley wrote several verses of text while the “alleluia’s” were added later to interrupt the flow of truth with opportunity to respond with expressive joy toward God. The message of the song expresses the heart-stirring themes of the resurrection of Jesus in a clear, comprehensive, and provocative manner. This song is a great tool for you to express your joy and confidence in the risen Christ. Don’t let the “alleluia’s” intimidate you. Here are three ways to get into top alleluia singing shape for Resurrection Sunday:
1) Read/sing the song several times before Sunday. Meditate on the phrase-by-phrase description of the rich victory over death won by our Lord and Savior Jesus. Here are the words.
Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
2) Practice singing the song. Sing it in the shower. Sing it in the car. Find a version from YouTube; there is a wide assortment available. Practice the “alleluia’s” so that everyone in the pews around you on Easter Sunday can follow your rich and melodic tones. Determine to be an alleluia influencer.
3) Remember and submit to the truth that your voice was made to sing praises to the God who has defeated death in his Son Jesus. There is no higher or greater use of your voice than to agree with others that you not only get it, but you celebrate it: Jesus is alive! “Alleluia” simply means praise the Lord. Review Revelation 19:1-6 to be reminded that your hallelujah singing now is only practice for the glorious future assured for those who love the risen Christ.
Get ready to soar! Plan to raise your joy high! Prepare to mock death! Practice your alleluias! Christ the Lord is risen today!