During this time whilst we can’t sing together in worship we are aiming to post a different hymn each week. For some Sundays it will be the obvious hymn in Common Praise for a particular Sunday and a brief commentary – partly with reference to The Penguin Book of Hymns edited by Ian Bradley, The Nation’s Favourite Hymns by Andrew Barr or research on the internet – will be published with our hymn choice for the week. The words of the hymn will be provided alongside a recording of the hymn, courtesy of Lucy Colbourne at home whilst Lancaster University is in lockdown. This will have been recorded by Billy Colbourne (Assistant Organist) and includes use of his Hauptwerk organ also at home, with the sounds of Salisbury Cathedral’s organ.
Charles Pavey – Organist & Choirmaster
Jesus Christ is Risen Today
JESUS Christ is risen to-day, Alleluia,
Hymns of praise then let us sing Alleluia,
But the pains that he endured Alleluia,
Lyra Davidica 1708 and others
CCLI - 1073121
This is the hymn for Easter Sunday morning because, if we don’t sing it on this day, we have to wait another year until we get our next chance. It is a sobering thought that congregations won’t have sung Jesus Christ is Risen Today for two years in a row but, at least this way, we can hear it and perhaps sing along if we wish. Of course our Christian faith tells us that Jesus Christ is risen every day and not just once a year on whichever day Easter Sunday falls.
The hymn is based on a 14th century Latin hymn “Surrexit Christus Hodie” by an unknown Bohemian author. It first appeared with its fairly literal English translation in a collection of divine sings and hymns titled Lyra Davidica (1709). Updated in two further collections (1749 & 1816), the hymn has otherwise remained virtually unchanged, with exception of the penultimate line. Some hymn books have ‘Now beyond our sight he’s king’ whereas, in Common Praise, the original line ‘Now above the sky he’s king’ has been kept and for which we, at Holy Trinity at least, briefly slow down and take a moment to relish the picture.
The tune to this hymn has remained unchanged since 1709. Usually called simply “Easter Hymn” (but very occasionally referred to as “Salisbury”), the composer of the tune is sadly unknown, but he or she has left us with one of the abiding sounds of Easter.
Charles Pavey - Organist & Choirmaster