7 Favorite Hymns For An Easter Service
Here are seven great hymns for an Easter Service.
This may be the greatest worship song ever written and it has brought billions of tears to millions of people. George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” written in 1714 was scripturally composed by Charles Jennens and it biblically and theologically sound. Only Amazing Grace by John Newton is this song’s rival based upon popularity but Handel’s Messiah and the chorus, “Hallelujah” is the only universal worship word known to nearly every people group on earth. Hallelujah is a compound word and is a transliteration of the Hebrew word “הַלְּלוּיָהּ” or “halleluya” and essentially is an exhortation to “praise God” or “you all praise God.” The “jah” ending of Hallelujah is God’s name which is from Yahweh. The lyrics point to a glorious future in singing, “The kingdoms of this world is become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.”
Christ the Lord is Risen Today
The great hymn, Christ the Lord is Risen Today, written by Charles Wesley in 1739 is closely associated with Resurrection Sunday because of the powerful, biblical lyrics like: “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!”
This song was actually a variation of an earlier hymn or 14th Century Latin hymn that had been translated into the English language in 1708, so Charles Wesley would have been very familiar with it. By the way, Charles Wesley was one of most prolific hymn writers in history, having written over 6,000 hymns (that we know of!).
Because He Lives
Because He lives is not just popular around Easter or on Resurrection Sunday but all year long because the lyrics are timeless truths that comfort the believer. This classic, written by Bill and Gloria Gaither is one of the most popular of the 600 plus worship songs that they’ve written. The powerful lyrics tell us why Jesus was raised as it says,
“He lived and died to buy my pardon, An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.” And, “Because He lives, All fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living just because He lives.”
I Will Rise
Chris Tomlin’s powerful “I Will Rise” is so good because it reflects what the Bible says like the fact that “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it” (Acts 2:24) because “God raised him on the third day and made him to appear” (Acts 10:40). Since the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23) and Jesus was sinless, death had no hold on Him. Chris Tomlin writes, “Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed. The victory is won. He is risen from the dead” and so he knows “I will rise when He calls my name” because “if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Rom 6:8). Do you believe that?
Mighty to Save
The song “Mighty to Save,” from Hillsong, is also a great worship song for Easter or Resurrection Sunday because of such powerful words in the song like “Forever, author of Salvation. He rose and conquered the grave. Jesus conquered the grave.” The song originally was recorded at the church from which the group comes, Hillsong Church, and nearly 10,000 people participated in the recording of this song in 2006. There is good reason that this song is among the favorites because the lyrics and so it’s no surprise that it was sung by the Newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Laura Story, and dozens of others.
My Redeemer Lives
“My Redeemer Lives,” by Nicole Mullins, who both sings this song and wrote the lyrics, brings us to the cross and to the grave, and the one is found empty because our Redeemer lives. Thousands of years ago, Job said “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25) and so the song righty says; “He lives. To take away my shame. And He lives. Forever I’ll proclaim. That the payment for my sins. Was the precious life He gave. But now He’s alive and there’s an empty Grave!
Arise My Love
The group Newsong and their Easter or Resurrection Sunday song “Arise My Love,” released in 2004, captures the poignant story of the crucifixion, the cross, and the joy that came from Calvary. Indeed, we can sing with them that “The grave no longer has a hold on You. No more death’s sting. No more suffering. Arise, arise My Love.” Just as the Apostle wrote, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting” (1st Cor 15:55) and of which “The sting of death is sin” (1st Cor 15:56), Jesus took the sting of death and like a bee that’s stung someone else, it is powerless to sting again. Jesus is the reason that “death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 8:38-39).
Easter or Resurrection Sunday worship songs should be very specific for this reason; they remind us “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1st Cor 15:3-4) so that we too “shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory” and as if taunting death, Paul asks, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting” (1st Cor 15:54-55)? Oh, that’s right; Jesus took the sting for us so that we wouldn’t have too, so join with me in singing, “Hallelujah!”
Article by Pastor Jack Wellman