Monday, April 17, 2006

the words remembered

Yesterday as I was leaving for church right on schedule I realized that I was never going to get a seat. I'm usually pretty good at remembering that our church gets completely packed out on major holidays and I need to leave early. Not so this year. Off I went. I actually found a parking spot (impressive) and made my way inside. There was one spot left on the benches that line the windows at the back of the sanctuary. Perfect. I could find everyone to say "hi" afterwards.

As soon as I sat down I realized why the seat was available in such a crowed room. It was directly behind one of the support columns. I couldn't see who was playing, let alone the words to whatever we might sing. But a curious thing happened.

The service I go to sings mostly choruses and more modern music, but for Christmas and Easter they bring out a few of hymns. I grew up in a mostly-hymns church and what I discovered yesterday is that the words are still there. After all these years, after so many Easters, so many attempts to find a way to say "Thank you", I found the words were there, remembered, like a rosary.

As the opening bars struck a familiar note I was able to join the others in singing.

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

LoveƂ’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!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!

Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

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