Cristo Vive (Christ Is Risen)
Christ is risen, Christ is living,
Dry your tears, be unafraid!
Death and darkness could not hold Him,
Nor the tomb in which He lay.
Do not look among the dead for
One who lives forevermore;
Tell the world that Christ is risen,
Make it known He goes before.
If the Lord had never risen,
We’d have nothing to believe.
But His promise can be trusted:
“You will live, because I live.”
As we share the death of Adam,
So in Christ we live again.
Death has lost its sting and terror.
Christ the Lord has come to reign.
Death has lost its old dominion,
Let the world rejoice and shout!
Christ, the firstborn of the living,
Gives us life and leads us out.
Let us thank our God who causes
Hope to spring up from the ground.
Christ is risen, Christ is giving
Life eternal, life profound.
CRISTO VIVE (Christ Is Risen, UMH 313) is a Spanish hymn written by two Portuguese pastors. The text was written by the late Rev Nicolás Martinez. The Rev Pablo D. Sosa, a Methodist pastor and musician, composed the music. These two pastors were actively involved in ecumenical activities. The late Rev Fred Kaan, a Dutch pastor of the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom, wrote the English translation. He too was an ecumenist. In his advocacy of ecumenism, he wrote:
“The word ecumenical, from the Greek oikoumene, isn’t originally a churchy word at all. Religious people have hijacked it from the secular world, and restricted it to apply only to the search for Christian unity. But when Caesar Augustus wanted to know how many people there were in his empire, he issued a decree that a census be held in the oikoumene – the whole inhabited world. It would be a healthy thing indeed if we allowed this word yet again to incorporate that original notion of the whole secular world, with its unlabeled human beings, created in God’s image.
“Our words ecumenical, economy and economics, and ecology all come from the one Greek root: oikos (or ecos), meaning ‘house’. It is the house that God built – not a chapel, church or cathedral, but the house of the world, our house of life, on the only earth we know.” (http://www.hymnary.org/files/articles/Kaan,%20My%20Hymn%20Writing%20Journey.pdf)
Here is a hymn, a product of collaborative work among three ecumenist pastors from different denominations and varied nationalities but one common goal: to narrate the Resurrection story.
So we sing “Christ is risen, Christ is living,” a hymn that alludes to 1 Corinthians 15. The first stanza tells us not to fear. Instead, rejoice and tell the world: Christ has conquered death!
Christians around the world observe the Passion of Jesus Christ through various ways such as lectures, Lenten meditation, Tenebrae, silence, and different worship styles. In whatever manner the Passion is remembered, participation is vital to grasp the meaning of Christ’s resurrection.
The second stanza prompts us to ask – Is this where the Christian story begins? Is it Christmas? Is it Advent? While the Christmas story is important, the Resurrection story is the heart of our Christian faith.
The final stanza paraphrases 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.
“ ‘Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Further, we give thanks to the Risen Christ for the newness of life. In reality, this is not an easy text. Pay attention to the world and see the contrasts. We need to keep going back to church, week after week as a community to proclaim God’s word and envision the hope that is before us that we may live it.
By Judith Mosomos