He Is Risen

April 7, 2023


When I flipped through the hymns in search of a song to arrange for this special time of year, I never realized there were only three Easter Hymns in the book. 


One of them, I confess I did not even recognize by the title.

I sat down and began plinking. That is usually the beginning of my creative process.

Random notes began to form somewhat of a coherent melody.

He is risen! He is risen!

I began playing the familiar chords. 

Let the whole wide world rejoice. 

Death is conquered, man is free.

Christ has won the victory.

The words filled my mind and heart with joy and the arrangement began fitting together like pieces in a puzzle.

Because of Christ, there is no end.

Because He lived how only he could live and did what only He could do.

I reached out to a very talented artist, Kenna Elizabeth Art, and commissioned this lovely painting of the Risen Christ for the front cover of this arrangement. I hope that while not in use, it can serve as a piece of artwork on the piano, and constant reminder of our Savior, His resurrection, and all He has done for us. 

The words of the hymn were written by Cecil Frances Alexander, an Irish poet and mother. I was surprised to find out she also wrote the words for the hymns There is a Green Hill Far Away, Once in Royal David's City, and All Things Bright and Beautiful. She began writing poetry at the age of 9 as her little sister loved to hear her stories. She wrote 400 hymns throughout her life and devoted her time to serving and helping others, even opening a school for deaf children. Although the words are not printed in the piano solo, they are beautiful and worth pondering. 

He is risen! He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice.
He has burst his three days prison; Let the whole wide earth rejoice.
Death is conquered man is free. Christ has won the victory.

Come with high and holy hymning; Chant our Lord's triumphant lay.
Not one darksome cloud is dimming yonder glorious morning ray,
Breaking o'er the purple east, Symbol of our Easter feast.

He is risen! He is risen! He hath opened heaven's gate. 
We are free from sin's dark prison, risen to a holier state.
And a brighter Easter beam on our longing eyes shall stream.

The powerful music and melody were composed by Joaquim Neander, a German teacher, theologian and hymn writer. He would often sit by the Düssel River and write, as he felt nature was one of his greatest inspirations. Perhaps he was there when he penned the words for another famous hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation.

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