(Christ is Risen)
Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia.
This Easter Greeting points us to the memorial acclamation that we proclaim during Holy Communion:
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again!
and brings us back to the Resurrection story.
This hymn retells that story. The first stanza alludes to Matthew 28—Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” were distraught when they found the tomb empty. They were shocked to see an angel who told them “Do not be afraid, Jesus has risen!” The angel sent the women to convey this message to the disciples. On their way, the women met Jesus, who told them to go and tell “his brothers” in Galilee where He would be also.
How does the second stanza relate to us as Christians? Paul’s resurrection texts (Rom 6:4; Rom 8:11; Eph 2:5–6; Phil 3:10; Col 2:12; Col 3:1) help us understand this. Christ was raised, and we are raised with him. As we are risen with Christ, we are spiritually formed. We die to sin and rise to be a new people together. We then find ourselves in a world where we are called to live the resurrection together as a community.
In Living the Resurrection, Eugene Peterson explains that Jesus’ resurrection “brings our lives into the operations of the gospel and gives spiritual formation its energy and character”.1
Stanza three of the hymn tells us to celebrate Christ’s victory over death. Easter is the most crucial event of the Christian year. It is this victory that shapes our beliefs, and should cause us to go out, sing, be thankful, be hopeful and live as Christ lives in us.
Fred Kaan (1929–2009) translated this hymn to English. Pablo Sosa (1933–2020) composed the music. Both lived their lives singing the resurrection story.
True to the themes of “hope” and “life” brought forth by this hymn, Fred Kaan is known to have written and translated hymn texts that address issues on human rights and social concerns: hymns that encourage congregations about hope in God’s works and faithfulness towards His creation. Sosa, on the other hand, was an advocate of global hymnody. He wrote tunes that crossed the barriers of culture and denomination. He inspired local churches to sing songs with understanding, empathy and compassion for the varied situations of people from which the songs originate. Both Kaan and Sosa enlivened congregational singing through their passionate writing and teaching.
Christo 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 for evermore;
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.
Words: Nicolás Martinez, 1960; trans. by Fred Kaan, 1972
Music: Pablo D. Sosa, 1960
1Eugene Peterson, Living the Resurrection (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 103–11.
Judith Laoyan-Mosomos is the Director for Worship and Church Music at the Methodist School of Music, and a member of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.