Hymns of victory
And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.”
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad; the passover of gladness, the passover of God. From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky, our Christ hath brought us over with hymns of victory.
John of Damascus (eighth century)
Raising a racket
It is said that John of Damascus started his hymn writing career with a funeral hymn for a fellow monk. The monk wasn’t dead yet, but everyone thought death was near. So John prepared his song and was singing it loudly in his room, testing it out. Suddenly the monk for whom is was written burst into the room and scolded John for raising such a racket. Tradition says that John was expelled from the monastery briefly for causing this disturbance, but then the Lord told the abbot that John would be doing great things with music, so the abbot welcomed John back.
And John did some great things, collecting and organizing the great hymns of the Greek-speaking church. His major accomplishment was the writing of the Golden Canon, an Easter liturgy still used in the Greek Orthodox church and from which this hymn is taken. Scholars have called his text the finest sacred poetry in the Greek language.
Our “Resurrection Week” readings are adapted from The One Year® Book of Hymns by Mark Norton and Robert Brown, Tyndale House Publishers (1995). Today’s is taken from the entry for March 30.
Digging Deeper/Telling Others: For more on the meaning of Easter, read Why the Resurrection by Greg Laurie (Tyndale, 2005), also available in 6-pack for distribution.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
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