The hymn “Jesus Christ is Risen Today” (1982 Hymnal 207) was composed in Latin in Bohemia in the 14th c. As we sing this hymn tonight pay special attention to the verb tenses. The hymn uses the past tense to speak of the Cross and Salvation but the present tense to speak of the Resurrection.
The first hymn we are singing this week is “All Glory Laud and Honor” which is the traditional processional hymn sung for Palm Sunday. The hymn was written by Theodulf, Bishop of Orléans, in about 820, while he was imprisoned. The hymn was used by the medieval church to reenact Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
This week we are singing hymns ancient-and-modern. These are hymns that were written generations or centuries ago, but which have seen a resurgence in Contemporary Christian Music. The first hymn we are singing is “Be Thou My Vision” which was written in the 6th c. but not translated into English and available for popular singing until the 20th c.
One song we are singing tonight is “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” written by Fr. Peter Scholtes, a Roman Catholic priest in south-side Chicago. He wrote the song 1966 for a youth choir to sing for at an ecumenical, interracial event. The song proclaims the root of our Christian unity that transcends all divisions.
One of the songs we are singing this week is “This is the Day” by Leslie Norman Garrett, an evangelical New Zealander. The song is based upon Psalm 118:24, which proclaims the great day of the Passover during the Exodus. The tune is a Fijian folk tune discovered by Garrett in his work in that country.
Traditionally, the church has emphasized Christmas, not so much as a baby in a manager, but as the celebration of God come-to-earth. Therefore, in Advent, our hymns emphasize both the Incarnation and the Parousia (Second-Coming).