Day 390 | Tuesday, 13 April 2021
Today I want to share with you a newer hymn for the Easter season, “Christ Is Alive” written by Brian Wren in 1968. I will follow the lyrics with Wren’s comments about the hymn and then some biographical information. It is good to have some newer hymns to sing along side the powerful older hymns. Reading the words sometimes is more powerful than just singing the words. I hope you appreciate the message of this hymn.
1 “Christ is alive! Let Christians sing. His cross stands empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring. His love in death shall never die.”
2 “Christ is alive! No longer bound to distant years in Palestine,
he comes to claim the here and now and conquer every place and time.”
3 “Not decked with gold, remotely high, untouched, unmoved by human pains,
but daily, in the midst of life, our Savior with the father reigns.”
4 “In every insult, rift, and war where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
he suffers still, yet loves the more, with healing hands and aching side.”
5 “Christ is alive! His Spirit burns through this and every future age,
till all creation lives and learns his joy, his justice, love, and praise.”
“Brian A. Wren wrote the text in Hockley, Essex, England, during April of 1968. Wren writes: It was written for Easter Sunday, two weeks after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I could not let Easter go by without speaking of this tragic event which was on all our minds. . . . The hymn tries to see God's love winning over tragedy and suffering in the world. . . . There is tension and tragedy in these words, not just Easter rejoicing.”
“First published in the British supplement New Church Praise (1975), the text was revised by Wren in 1978.”
“"Christ Is Alive" is a joyful celebration of Christ's resurrection (st. 1) and of his personal rule in a human world in which pain, war, and injustice abound (st. 2-4). Christ’s transcendent and immanent reign is empowered by the Holy Spirit and will ultimately bring about a new creation (st. 5).”
“Brian Wren (b. Romford, Essex, England, 1936) is a major British figure in the revival of contemporary hymn writing. He studied French literature at New College and theology at Mansfield College in Oxford, England. Ordained in 1965, he was pastor of the Congregational Church (now United Reformed) in Hockley and Hawkwell, Essex, from 1965 to 1970. He worked for the British Council of Churches and several other organizations involved in fighting poverty and promoting peace and justice. This work resulted in his writing of Education for Justice (1977) and Patriotism and Peace (1983). With a ministry throughout the English-speaking world, Wren now resides in the United States where he is active as a freelance lecturer, preacher, and full-time hymn writer. His hymn texts are published in Faith Looking Forward (1983), Praising a Mystery (1986), Bring Many Names (1989), New Beginnings (1993), and Faith Renewed: 33 Hymns Reissued and Revised (1995), as well as in many modern hymnals. He has also produced What Language Shall I Borrow? (1989), a discussion guide to inclusive language in Christian worship.”