Brand new song from Selah: The People of the Cross; and Honoring the Martyrs (part 2)

April 28, 2015

People Of The Cross

[Scroll down for new song from Selah – it’s SO good, Wow!  But the intro is inspiring, important and relevant…]

Last week I posted an entry about the Ethiopian, Kenyan and Egyptian martyrs: Lifting High the Cross: How the Martyrs Exalted Christ by Their Deaths (part 1) I have an additional entry I planned to post as a followup, but a very busy workload in recent days kept me from completing that draft.  Today I found myself with some unexpected free time between meetings and I was browsing Twitter catching up on various prayer needs and current events around the world…  Two posts on Twitter related to the martyrs killed by ISIS grabbed my attention, and I felt it very important to post them here.  So what was going to be a two-part series, will now be a three-part series.  I’ll hope to post the third entry on Thurs. or Friday.

The first tweet related to the martyrs today was posted by the famous Catholic monk and musician John Michael Talbot:

The full text of what he wrote was:

Coptic Christians in praise of Jesus in 2011 before the uprising of recent persecutions by fanatical Islam. This is the strength that gets them through the persecution today. Do we have the same?

I watched the linked video from the great Middle Eastern Christian channel SAT-7 (over 2 million views for this video!)

Here are excerpts from the lyrics in English – they utterly astound me in light of ISIS actions killing our brothers from Egypt & Ethiopia on the grounds that they were PEOPLE OF THE CROSS.  It is almost as if this song was written to prepare the church in Egypt for the time of testing to come.  INCREDIBLE.

Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
Say that He has risen and death has no authority
And there is no forgiveness except through His blood
And the light of the Gospel is increasing
[…]
Say that He has conquered darkness and its authority
He has lit up our days and given them color
And the light of day is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Say that He is He is defeating his foes
We’re winning with His testimony and blood
And our heritage is increasing
[…]
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you
Live the joy of heaven, joy, joy
Satan will wear the clothes of one in mourning
[…]
Increase your praises to Christ, lift up the Lord with your tunes
Call out the heroes, His heroes, who walk with the cross before you

No sooner had I finished watching that, then I glanced back at my Twitter feed, and the VERY FIRST tweet I saw was this from We Are Worship USA:

So, I went straight to YouTube to watch this video. This song People of the Cross was just released today – it’s on iTunes and other music download sites.

So powerful.  May this be true.

We are the People of the Cross.  We choose Christ and count all else as loss.  We won’t be shaken.  Hope won’t be taken. We are the People of the Cross.

May this be a rallying cry to the Evangelical Church in the West to truly live as People of the Cross, following in the footsteps of the martyrs from Egypt, Kenya and Ethiopia who have counted the cost and shown that Christ is worth dying for.

Go buy this song and keep listening and keep praying for the church around the world that we may not shrink back in the face of suffering and persecution….


A Compilation of 70 Favorite Easter and Eastertide Hymns

April 19, 2015
Easter Hymns

image credit: iTunes

NOTE: This post contains a listing of 70 great Easter hymns, and links to where you can purchase them, as well as links to other good hymn resources, but no audio.  I’ll be posting quite a few of thesehymns here at Lent & Beyond in coming days and weeks…. stay tuned.

***

I notice quite a lot of folks coming to L&B looking for Easter Hymns.  I’m a lover of great Easter hymns, but sadly you might not really know it by browsing Lent & Beyond.  In recent years I’ve posted much more CCM and Contemporary worship music than hymns, primarily because my digital collection of hymns and classical music has until now been quite small.

One of the greatest blessings of the internet, iTunes, YouTube, etc., has been the ability to learn and appreciate a much wider diversity of Eastertide hymns.  In my Episcopal parish growing up, we seemed to sing the same 5 or 6 Easter hymns over and over and over again.  And while that repetition made me grow to love them deeply – they became part of me in a sense – I never realized how much I was missing…

For instance, it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s and working in French-speaking West Africa that I learned the fabulous hymn Thine Be the Glory (actually learning it first in French “A Toi la Gloire, O Ressuscité”) – now one of my absolute Easter playlist essentials!

And then of course, there are online hymnals and their Easter hymn collections which make learning new/old hymns easy these days:

With all of these resources to scour for good hymns, I devoted a fair bit of time (and a bit of money) in recent weeks to significantly increase my Easter hymn and classical music collection and creating a great Easter hymns & classical anthems playlist.

So, in case it’s a blessing and encouragement and helpful resource, here is a current list of 70 favorite Easter hymns. For each hymn I provide details for the version that’s in my playlist (artist, album, purchase link). I have not included details on composers, tune or lyrics.  In most cases you will find that information at Hymnary.org or the Cyber Hymnal.

For some hymns, I’ve included links to some alternate versions, including alternate tunes, instrumental versions, or contemporary renditions. There are a few modern hymns included – such as In Christ Alone.  The majority of these hymns are from the Anglican tradition, but I’ve thrown in a few Evangelical / Gospel type hymns as well.  My tastes are broad – any hymn that focuses on the joy and glory of Christ’s resurrection and His victory over death and His redemption of His people is fair game!

I’d love for commenters to add suggestions and tell us about your favorites!  Let’s turn this into an OPEN THREAD about memories of favorite Easter hymns… what songs do you love and why?

Note: this list includes only hymns.  I may try to create a separate post with some favorite recordings of Easter classical music, carols and anthems.

***

Below is a list of the Titles and Artists for all the hymns.  Here is a link to the Excel Spreadsheet which will give you full details on the album and a purchase link in the iTunes store (US).

Title,  Artist

  • A toi la gloire, Les petits chanteurs de Sainte-Croix de Neuilly
  • All Hail the Power – No. 1 [Instrumental – tune: Coronation], The King’s Brass & Tim Zimmerman
  • All Hail the Power (arr. Sterling Procter – tune: Diadem), The Chancel Choir, The Chapel Choir, Broadway Baptist Church and The Oratorio Chorus, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, The Festival Brass
  • Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven, The Choir Of Sheffield Cathedral
  • Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (with handbells), Concordia Publishing House

Read the rest of this entry »


Easter Hymns: How Shall I Sing That Majesty (Coe Fen)

April 19, 2015

 

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51iA2o-OfhL._SY300_.jpg

Back in 2012 I blogged about this hymn – having newly discovered it via a blog post by Patrick Comerford.  (Patrick Comerford later posted a much more detailed entry about this hymn here.)

This Easter, I decided to upgrade my Easter hymns playlist, and I treated myself to purchasing this hymn, choosing a version to the tune of Coe Fen, sung by Wells Cathedral Choir, from a 1999 album The English Hymn, Vol. 1 – Christ Triumphant.

Below I’ve posted a pretty good recording of this on YouTube (apologies that there is an ad)

Christ’s Hospital School singing ‘How Shall I Sing That Majesty’ to the tune of Coe Fen by Ken Naylor (CH 1980-86). It was recorded for BBC Radio 2’s Sunday Half Hour.

I much prefer the Wells Cathedral Choir version, however.

Lyrics:

1 How shall I sing that majesty
which angels do admire?
Let dust in dust and silence lie;
sing, sing, ye heavenly choir.
Thousands of thousands stand around
thy throne, O God most high;
ten thousand times ten thousand sound
thy praise; but who am I?

2 Thy brightness unto them appears,
while I thy footsteps trace;
a sound of God comes to my ears,
but they behold thy face.
They sing, because thou art their Sun;
Lord, send a beam on me;
for where heav’n is but once begun,
there alleluias be.

3 Enlighten with faith’s light my heart,
inflame it with love’s fire;
then shall I sing and bear a part
with that celestial choir.
I shall, I fear, be dark and cold,
with all my fire and light;
yet when thou dost accept their gold,
Lord, treasure up my mite.

4 How great a being, Lord, is thine,
which doth all beings keep!
Thy knowledge is the only line
to sound so vast a deep.
Thou art a sea without a shore,
a sun without a sphere;
thy time is now and evermore,
thy place is everywhere.

Learn more about this great hymn and find resources (arrangements, handbell scores, etc.) at Hymnary.org.


MUST SEE / LISTEN!! – Music for Easter – The Lord is Risen Indeed! (Easter Anthem) William Billings

April 8, 2015

WOW!!!!!   Thanks to Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia who tweeted about this.  What a stunning Easter anthem and video.  I don’t believe I’ve ever before heard this anthem by William Billings, but even before the video finished playing, I was looking online for a version to purchase.  Here is a link to iTunes where this version of Billings’ Easter Anthem may be purchased.

This is just a fantastic mix of music and art (Russian Orthodox iconography).

Here’s what the creator of the YouTube video writes:

I received many nice responses from my fusion project involving an 18th century American hymn and Orthodox icons, so, here is a second effort. William Billings was the last prominent composer to work prior to the destruction of American sacred music during the Second Great Awakening. The harmonics, text, and a capella setting are all familiar to an Orthodox Christian. There are those doing their best to preserve this heritage. I give them my regards, wish them well, and extend to them my hope that they succeed in passing on the torch to a new generation.

This piece is sung by His Majesty’s Clerkes under the direction of Paul Hillier.

***

Here is the text of the anthem via the ChoralWiki site:

Text arranged from Edward Young’s “The Complaint”, or “Night Thoughts”, “Night Four”, 1741-44

English.png English text

The Lord is ris’n indeed,
Hallelujah.
Now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the first fruits of them that slept.
Hallelujah.
And did He rise?
Hear, O ye nations, hear it, O ye dead.
He rose, He burst the bars of death,
He burst the bars of death and triumph’d o’er the grave.
Then I rose,
then first humanity triumphant passed the crystal ports of light,
and seiz’d eternal youth.
Man, all immortal hail, hail,
Heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine’s all the glory, man’s the boundless bliss.

***

There’s more about William Billlings and the Easter anthem here at Hymnary.org

 


Easter Music – Classic Hymns: The Strife is O’er – Truro Cathedral Choir

April 5, 2015

(I can’t resist reposting this even though I’ve posted it in other years.  I need these words this Easter Morn!  Look for new Easter devotional entries beginning Monday.)

easter-lily

For this morning’s Easter musical selection, I’m choosing one of my favorite classic hymns:

The Strife is O’er performed by the Truro Cathedral Choir.

(Should the embedded music file not display or play, use this link, but please respect copyright and purchase the file should you wish to keep it.)

This version appears on the 2009 album Easter Joy, with 51 hymns and songs by assorted artists.

Here is a pretty close version of the lyrics (there are a few minor differences)

The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor’s triumph won;
Now be the song of praise begun.
Alleluia!

2. Death’s mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath His foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst.
Alleluia!

3. On the third morn He rose again
Glorious in majesty to reign;
Oh, let us swell the joyful strain!
Alleluia!

4. He closed the yawning gates of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell.
Let songs of praise His triumph tell.
Alleluia!

5. Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee.
From death’s dread sting Thy servants free
That we may live and sing to Thee.
Alleluia!

Note, as is often the case, the American version of the hymn is somewhat different.


“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death” – St. Ephrem of Edessa

April 4, 2015

originally posted by Fr. Al Kimel at Pontifications in April 2005

“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death” – St. Ephrem of Edessa

*

Death trampled our Lord underfoot, but He in His turn treated death as a highroad for His own feet. He submitted to it, enduring it willingly, because by this means He would be able to destroy death in spite of itself. Death had its own way when our Lord went out from Jerusalem carrying His cross; but when by a loud cry from that cross He summoned the dead from the underworld, death was powerless to prevent it.

Death slew Him by means of the body which He had assumed, but that same body proved to be the weapon with which He conquered death. Concealed beneath the cloak of His manhood, His godhead engaged death in combat; but in slaying our Lord, death itself was slain. It was able to kill natural human life, but was itself killed by the life that is above the nature of man.

Death could not devour our Lord unless He possessed a body, neither could hell swallow Him up unless He bore our flesh; and so He came in search of a chariot in which to ride to the underworld. This chariot was the body which He received from the Virgin; in it He invaded death’s fortress, broke open its strong-room and scattered all its treasure.

At length He came upon Eve, the mother of all the living. She was that vineyard whose enclosure her own hands had enabled death to violate, so that she could taste its fruit; thus the mother of all the living became the source of death for every living creature. But in her stead Mary grew up, a new vine in place of the old. Christ, the new life, dwelt within her. When death, with its customary impudence, came foraging for her mortal fruit, it encountered its own destruction in the hidden life that fruit contained. All unsuspecting, it swallowed Him up, and in so doing released life itself and set free a multitude of men.

He who was also the carpenter’s glorious son set up His cross above death’s all-consuming jaws, and led the human race into the dwelling place of life. Since a tree had brought about the downfall of mankind, it was upon a tree that mankind crossed over to the realm of life. Bitter was the branch that had once been grafted upon that ancient tree, but sweet the young shoot that has now been grafted in, the shoot in which we are meant to recognise the Lord whom no creature can resist.

We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain, but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead.

Come then, my brothers and sisters, let us offer our Lord the great and all-embracing sacrifice of our love, pouring out our treasury of hymns and prayers before Him who offered His cross in sacrifice to God for the enrichment of us all.

St Ephrem of Edessa


“Life lock’d in death, heav’n in a shell!” – Henry Vaughan

April 4, 2015

This is a copy of a devotional originally posted by Fr. Al Kimel at Pontifications in 2005

*

LORD, when Thou didst Thyself undress,
Laying by Thy robes of glory,
To make us more, Thou wouldst be less,
And becam’st a woful story.

To put on clouds instead of light,
And clothe the morning-star with dust,
Was a translation of such height
As, but in Thee, was ne’er express’d.

Brave worms and earth! that thus could have
A God enclos’d within your cell,
Your Maker pent up in a grave,
Life lock’d in death, heav’n in a shell!

Ah, my dear Lord! what couldst thou spy
In this impure, rebellious clay,
That made Thee thus resolve to die
For those that kill Thee every day?

O what strange wonders could Thee move
To slight Thy precious blood, and breath?
Sure it was love, my Lord! for love
Is only stronger far than death!

Henry Vaughan


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 457 other followers

%d bloggers like this: