March 27, 2005
There aren't very many Easter hymns in our LDS
hymnbook. We sing them so rarely that I have specific memories of
singing all three. I love all three. I especially like to sing those
Easter songs when I have my little green hymnbook on hand.
I took my hymnbook to Jerusalem with me twice. It went to Bethel,
where we sang "Nearer, My God, To Thee." We sang "Redeemer of Israel"
on top of Mt. Sinai and "Angels We Have Heard on High" in a field
near Bethlehem. We would sing praise hymns while we were returning to
Jerusalem. I can still hear "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" in Bethany
in the tomb of Lazarus. Singing "More Holiness Give Me" always takes
me back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
I wrote in my hymnbook the names of the places where we sang those
songs, and the names of my dear friends' favorite hymns. I remember one friend saying that "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest
a Crown" is her favorite hymn while we were at the Garden Tomb. Another loved "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." And even "Love at Home,"
which I don't particularly like, takes on special meaning when I
remember singing it with an Iraqi family in Jordan who had escaped Iraq
and joined the Church in Irbid, Jordan.
I know I've been writing about Jerusalem a lot recently. Easter is the
time I think about Jerusalem the most. I miss Jerusalem. I don't think I
ever felt more alive than when I was there.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls,
and prosperity within thy palaces
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I do not prefer Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is risen today.
April 8, 2007
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!
Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!
Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, 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!
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!
King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!
Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!
But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!
Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!
And one of my favorite Easter stories. I like to think of the two as being Mary and her husband Cleophas:
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus,
about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each
other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking
and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
And he said to them,
"What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you
And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas,
answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know
the things that have happened there in these days?"
And he said to
them, "What things?"
And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of
Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God
and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him
up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that
he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now
the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our
company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when
they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even
seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who
were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said,
but him they did not see."
And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and
slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not
necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his
glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he
interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as
if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay
with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he
went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the
bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were
opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.
They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he
talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And
they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the
eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The
Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what
had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking
of the bread.