Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands"

I happened upon this Easter hymn while perusing a hymnal from my collection. Words by Martin Luther (1483-1546), and music adapted and harmonized by Bach (1685-1750) from a German melody written in 1524. How can you go wrong? It's a bit difficult to sing on the first go around, even with the music in front of you, but it's worth listening to.

"Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands"

Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands,
And brings us life from Heaven.
Wherefore let us joyful be,
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of Alleluia! Alleluia!

Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree—
So strong His love!—to save us.
See, His blood doth mark our door;
Faith points to it, Death passes over,
And Satan cannot harm us. Alleluia!

So let us keep the festival
Where to the Lord invites us;
Christ is Himself the joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By His grace He doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended! Alleluia!

You can go here to listen to the wonderful melody and read all of the verses. Unfortunately, I think there's a wrong note in the next to last measure, so you'll have to overlook that. Also, just be forewarned that there is a painting a bit of the way down the page. It's of Jesus in the tomb, with two disciples looking at Him. As long as you're ready for it, I suppose it isn't quite so startling.

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