Thinking about old Easter Hymns this week.
Robert Lowry was a minister, but is perhaps more known for his songs. He wrote some gorgeous songs back in the 1870s. He wrote several well known songs, but one that I think about each Easter season is Up from the Grave He Arose.
Oddly, when I hear or think of this song (which has been a long time since) I think of my grandparent’s church. I remember the quiet and sweet voices of old ladies singing slightly off tune. The simple chords played on the out of tune upright piano to the left of the stage, and the awkward director standing before the congregation just in front of the Piano, calling out which number verse was next. Harmony and pitch wasn’t a critical consideration in Kilpatrick, Alabama. The verses were slow and rather sad sounding. This was way before overheads and computers threw lyrics up on a wall. This was standard liturgy week to week and not just something pulled out for special occasions. This was worship.
The 30-40 people in the pews for some reason sang the verses timidly, but then each refrain is a reminder of the greatness that took place when Jesus conquered death and triumphed so that we could be with him. The refrains gained a bold confidence from both the pianos and the voices of the choir… Not a choir in the loft, just people standing side by side in the pews worshiping God.
Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
Vainly they watch his bed, Jesus my Savior,
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!
Death cannot keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
he tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!
When you think Easter and Hymns, what do you think of?