HE IS RISEN! SO WHAT?

resurrection-jesus  Glorious Easter! I hope everyone reading this blogpost was able to worship on the Sunday of Pascha, sometimes referenced as the Christian Passover, and found the kinds of celebrative and spirited environments that I did on this special Sunday, the highlight of the Christian year. When serving in a local church I use to note lots of Easter Sunday attenders who were absent most of the rest of the year, and wondered how effective worship might be for them, but also recognized the importance of taking advantage of this opportunity to remind all of us of our blessed grace gift and mystery of our faith, Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!

One of the messages I heard Sunday was by Dr. Frank Lewis, senior pastor for First Baptist Church Nashville. Pastor Frank’s principle text was Mark 16, recording the traditional story of the powerful resurrection and the reactions of disciples that followed. In his application at the end of the sermon he reminded the church family of a previous service in which sins were symbolically nailed to a cross that remained in the worship space through the season, and was draped in liturgical white on this Resurrection Sunday. He reminded us of the transformative resurrection power that makes forgiveness of sins possible. I personally find such symbolic gestures and appropriate use of symbol in gathered worship to be very effective. He broadened the scope out a bit to note how often resurrection stories are a part of the ministry of the Gospel. He spoke of standing over the graveside of church members able to give comfort to families because of this resurrection story. He noted several illustrations where transformation took place and connected each as a resurrection story. These included such changes as those freed from substance abuse, deseased finding healing, and torn relationships being mended. These are resurrection stories fueled by resurrection power. This is why we must continue to sing with clarity the message of the resurrection, and the theme of deliverance at the center of the Gospel itself!

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!

The Charles Wesley hymn is such an inspiration and declaration of victory! Like other Pascha hymns it captures something of the very spirit and significance of the Resurrection of Jesus. Through the season of Lent and particularly in recent weeks many of us have considered the reality and necessity of lament. Indeed we need others to know that we weep with those who weep. But thanks be to God our mourning is turned to dancing! Our night is turned to day! Death is swallowed up in the victory of our Lord Jesus, and we rest, stand, and live in Christ alone!

Sing of the resurrection and its transformative power over and over and over again! This is relevance! Our world is desperate for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some know it and many do not. We must continue our song, however, and continue our prayer that God Himself will open the eyes of the blind in that resurrection power. This is why we sing lyrics like those of another good hymn by our friends, the Gettys:

Words of power that can never fail

            Let their truth prevail over unbelief

We sing and proclaim a message of deliverance. Let us remain faithful in singing that message of deliverance so that the world will know that we were once blind, but now we see, that we were lost and now are found, that we were in chains and now we are free. Let us pronounce afresh the open arms of the Gospel, and pray the Holy Spirit will pierce the hearts of non-believers to show them the great hope available, such that

No guilt in life, no fear in death

            This is the power of Christ in me       

            …..til He returns or calls me home here in the power of Christ I’ll stand!

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! That changes everything!

Explore posts in the same categories: Church Music, Congregational Singing, Leading Worship, Music Ministry, Singing Worship, Spiritual formation through singing, Worship Leaders, Worship Pastors, Worship Reminders, Worship theology, Worship thoughts, Youth Worship

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