Saturday, March 5, 2022

316. Easter Hymn

I had this hymn tune stuck in my head today and I decided to do something original with it. It's called BIRKDALE and it's by Henry Hiles, 1865, and for some reason my indexing work on Songs and Hymns of Zion got it embedded in my brain, even though it never appears in that book. (I think it comes of having scrolled past it numerous times while using my hymn tune research to identify tunes in SHZ.) I'd also been thinking that even after publishing two hefty books of hymns, I somehow still hadn't written the kind of Easter hymn that I'd actually want to sing on Easter Sunday. (There is this, but the 1 Corinthians 15 text it's based on comes up elsewhere in the lectionary series my church uses, so I recently sang it as a solo, and I don't want to repeat it again next month.) So, to rectify that omission and crush the earworm at the same time, here's a new Easter Hymn sung to BIRKDALE.

Holy women, sorely grieving,
Yet believing,
Came with spices to the tomb
And beheld at dawn's first rising,
Most surprising,
No clay resting in the gloom.

"Why," they found an angel speaking,
"Are you seeking
Him who lives among the dead?
See the place where He was lying:
No more dying,
He is risen as He said."

"Go," he said, "tell His disciples:
He has gone where you will go."
So they ran, afraid, rejoicing,
Praises voicing,
First the wondrous news to know.

Still today that word astounding
Is resounding,
Ever new despite the years:
Death, although its shroud enfold us,
Cannot hold us;
Christ will wipe away our tears.

Jesus bore all sin while dying,
By His holy death all flesh;
Now He lives, wherein is rooted
Faith imputed
Unto us as righteousness.

His baptismal vow is plighted:
We're united
In His death and its release.
Gathered into death, we meet Him,
Warmly greet Him,
Resting lightly and at peace.

Likewise, in communion melded,
We are welded
To His life, and live anew.
Let us then have done with doubting,
Gladly shouting
Every praise the Lamb is due.

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