For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jesus, Eddie Izzard and Moi

I adore Eddie Izzard's comedy. Full of religious and political references, he's witty and snarky. Two qualities that mesh well together. In this HBO special Dressed to Kill, he discusses the irony of our forefather's musical dedications. From the pain and despair of the slave fields erupts a joyous, melodic sound we now call Gospel. Conversely, the white, anglo-saxons who had all the money, power and comfort sing dearthy hymns. The lyrics - uplifting, but the tune...well, where's the scyth with which I can end it all quickly? The tune is out of context and often depressing. Eddie is so right!

I grew up in a non-denominational Prostestant church, and each Sunday we sung hymns that often supported this ironic theme. Today, I much prefer the contempory Christian music that many churches are hosting during Sunday service. Sometimes a tad pop for my tastes, there are many beautiful songs that sound of the hope we have, and the love God gives. Meanwhile, there are two times each year my preferences revert back to the classic hymns: Easter and Christmas. It's not Christmas for me without singing "Oh, Holy Night". Nor, is it a fully celebrated Easter without singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today".

The latter could be a stereotypical dolldrum hymn in tune. It oftens starts out that way. Yet, something about this particular song seems to resonate with everyone singing it. WASPs and other human insects alike all seem to get that this song summarizes the reason for our existence, our hope! And everyone in the church seems to elevate in their shoes. I can't wait to sing it this Sunday! I truly get goosebumps.

My personal favorite is the line "Where oh death is now thy sting?" Think about it! We can have nothing to fear in this world, because Christ has already won! The outcome has been determined. That is amazing and mindblowing, and quite worthy of stepping up the ho-humness of a hymn.
So, in honor of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, here are the lyrics:

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
Happy Easter!

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