Stunning Easter Anthem: Blessed be the God and Father (Samuel Sebastian Wesley)

April 27, 2015

Via Twitter, I discovered this fantastic Easter Anthem by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  The version in the YouTube below is sung by Consortium.

This version is available for purchase at iTunes here.  There is also a beautiful recording from the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, here.

Here are the lyrics via the Choral Wiki site:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation
ready to be revealed at the last time.

But as he which hath called you is holy,
so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.
Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.

Love one another with a pure heart fervently.
See that ye love one another.
Love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Being born again,
not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible,
by the word of God.

For all flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth,
and the flower thereof falleth away.

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
Amen.


Scotty Smith: A Prayer for Releasing the Fragrance of Christ

April 24, 2015

Yesterday Pastor Scotty Smith posted an excellent prayer at Heavenward, his prayer blog at The Gospel Coalition site.

This line in particular really struck me and stuck with me throughout the day:

Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me.

Amen! (though really…, on second thought, who wants more brokenness?!?!?  BUT… if it will make Christ’s glory more beautiful in my life, I really DO want to be able to pray these words!)

***

Here’s the beginning of the prayer and the Scriptures which shaped his prayer:

Apr 23, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NLT)

     But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Cor. 4:7 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, these wonderful words tell the story of how I want to live up till the Day Jesus either returns, or the day you choose to bring me home. May the fragrance of Jesus and the aroma of grace being increasingly released through this fragile jar of clay that I am.

     Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me. Father, thank you for making me Christ’s captive and a prisoner of hope. Thank you for rescuing me from sin and death, from my guilt and shame, from the illusion of self-sufficiency and the lie of self-righteousness.

You can read the rest here.


CCM Classics for Easter – Michael Card: Love Crucified Arose (1982)

April 23, 2015

Michael Card’s classic “Love Crucified Arose” came up in my Easter playlist as I was getting ready for work this morning, and the lyrics so encouraged me.  The lyrics of the chorus especially remind us that Jesus’ resurrection was a PHYSICAL resurrection.

Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again

A dead, lifeless body coming back to life, a heart that had stopped, now beating once again.  The resurrection is not just some nice abstract idea of new life or spiritual renewing, but the truth that Christ’s lifeless body was miraculously raised to life again.  In this is our hope.  NOTHING is impossible for the God who raised Jesus from the dead.  Be encouraged and REJOICE today!

Ask God what He wants to transform by His resurrection power in your life, and pray with confidence regarding His work of transformation, remembering that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is alive and at work in all of us who are in Christ.  (See Eph 1:17 – 21)

There are at least 3 different versions of Love Crucified Arose performed by Michael Card available for purchase:  The original version of the song from The Early Works or Signature Songs; Live Version (piano & cello) [as in the YouTube above] from Scribbling in the Sand; and, what may be by favorite version, from A Violent Grace (includes choral background vocals).

The resource page for this song at Song Select is here

Here are the lyrics:

Long ago, He blessed the earth
Born older than the years
And in the stall the cross He saw
Through the first of many tears

A life of homeless wandering
Cast out in sorrow’s way
The Shepherd seeking for the lost
His life, the price He paid

Love crucified arose
The risen One in splendor
Jehovah’s sole defender
Has won the victory

Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again

Throughout Your life You’ve felt the weight
Of what You’d come to give
To drink for us that crimson cup
So we might really live

At last the time to love and die
The dark appointed day
That one forsaken moment when
Your Father turned His face away

Love crucified arose
The One who lived and died for me
Was Satan’s nail-pierced casualty
Now He’s breathing once again

Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again

Love crucified arose
The risen One in splendor
Jehovah’s sole defender
Has won the victory


Mark D. Roberts: Because of the Resurrection – an Easter postscript, part 2

April 23, 2015

This is a follow up entry to the Easter Quote we posted yesterday, by Presbyterian pastor Mark D. Roberts

Because of the resurrection, we reverence the cross.

Because of the resurrection, the cross is one of the best known symbols in the world.

Because of the resurrection, what was once the sign of horrific death is now a sign of life and hope.

Because of the resurrection, the death of Jesus is remembered, cherished, even celebrated.

Because of the resurrection, the Stations of the Cross lead, not to death, but to life.

Because of the resurrection, we are reborn into a living hope.

Because of the resurrection, we know that we too will live anew.

Because of the resurrection, everything is different.

Because of the resurrection, new life has begun.

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

From a 2011 devotional by Mark D. Roberts


CCM Classics for Easter – Matthew Ward’s updated rendition of Easter Song (2011)

April 22, 2015

Ok, you can’t get too much more “classic” in terms of CCM than Easter Song, written by Annie Herring of the Second Chapter of Acts, released on their very first album With Footnotes in 1974.  It’s one of the defining songs of the genre by one of the pioneering groups of the genre.  For those of us who remember when this song and album came out, it seems impossible that the song is now more than 40 years old!

Vocalist extraordinaire Matthew Ward, along with his sisters Annie and Nellie comprised the Second Chapter of Acts, and although the group stopped performing more than 20 years ago, Matthew has continued to produce some solo albums.   In 2011 he recorded a new arrangement of Easter Song.  I only discovered it mid-Eastertide last year, and I’m so enjoying having his fresh update of an Easter classic in my playlist this entire Easter season. This song doesn’t get old…!

Here’s what Matthew wrote on his website as the reason for releasing a new version of this classic:

February 15th  2011 marked my 40th anniversary in music. I wanted to do something special for this momentous occasion, so I recorded a new rendition of “Easter Song” one of the most popular tunes my sister (Annie Herring) ever wrote, it’s available now …  He has risen!!!!

In my opinion no one has matched Matthew’s voice in the past 40 years of CCM!

Matthew’s updated version of Easter Song is available at iTunes and elsewhere.

Here’s Matthew performing Easter Song in the Colorado Mountains.  It’s EXCELLENT.  Crank up the volume and sing along loudly in joyous praise of our Risen Lord!


Easter Quotes – Mark D. Roberts: Without the Resurrection, An Easter Postscript

April 22, 2015

During the fourteen days prior to Easter, I was reflecting on the Stations of the Cross in preparation for a deeper experience of the reality of Jesus’ death, and therefore a greater celebration of his resurrection. Today, on the Monday after Easter, I want to add an Easter postscript.

Without the resurrection, the cross of Jesus really wouldn’t matter much.

Without the resurrection, we’d never have known about Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives, where he submitted to the will of his Heavenly Father.

Without the resurrection, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus would have been long forgotten.

Without the resurrection, the Sanhedrin who condemned Jesus would have been seen as largely correct in their estimation of him as a blasphemer who needed to be silenced.

Without the resurrection, Peter’s denial of Jesus might seem like a judicious way to preserve his own life.

Without the resurrection, we’d probably never have heard the name of Pontius Pilate, unless we happened to take a class in Jewish history in the Roman Period.

Without the resurrection, the fact that Jesus was scourged and crowned with thorns would seem to be a sad but fitting end to one who pretended to usher in the kingdom of God.

Without the resurrection, Jesus would have been one more nameless individual who took up his cross on the way to dying a cruel death.

Without the resurrection, Simon of Cyrene would have disappeared into the dust of history.

Without the resurrection, the women who mourned for Jesus would have continued to mourn for a long, long time . . . not for only two days.

Without the resurrection, most of us would know very little about crucifixion, unless we had seen the movie Spartacus. (Of course there would be no Passion of the Christ film.)

Without the resurrection, the promise of Jesus to the thief, that he would join Jesus in Paradise, would seem like a bad, sad joke.

Without the resurrection, the presence of Jesus’ mother at the cross would be painful in the extreme, without a hint of meaning or hope.

Without the resurrection, the cross would be largely forgotten, and it would not appear on millions of buildings or around millions of necks.

Without the resurrection, the tomb would have been the final resting place of Jesus, until his body was exhumed so his bones could be placed in a ossuary (box for bones).

Without the resurrection, there would be no Stations of the Cross.

Without the resurrection, there would be no Christian church.

Without the resurrection, there would be no assurance of salvation.

Without the resurrection, there would be no reason to hope.

Without the resurrection, there would be only death.

From a 2011 Easter Devotional by Presybterian Pastor Mark D. Roberts


An Easter Prayer by Mark D. Roberts

April 21, 2015

An Easter Prayer by Presybterian pastor & blogger Mark D. Roberts:

PRAYER: Gracious God, how we praise you for your power made known in the resurrection. Death could not defeat you. Rather, the death of Jesus set the stage for an extraordinary display of your power. Christ is risen! You have won the battle. Alleluia!

Yet the power of the resurrection is not merely something we celebrate joyfully, but also something we can experience daily. Your power is for us, helping us, guiding us, setting us free. Your power is in us, healing us, renewing us, and gifting us for ministry, so that we might serve you in the church and in the world.

Even as we celebrate the power of your resurrection on this Easter Sunday, may we live by that power today and each day of our lives. And may your church be renewed by this power, so that we might live each day as a demonstration of your resurrection.

To you be all the glory. Alleluia!  Amen.

From here (where there is a longer, excellent Easter devotional)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 440 other followers

%d bloggers like this: