Easter hymns

11 April 2019

Favourite hymns and songs for Easter Day, as chosen by the staff at Hymns Ancient & Modern.


'Christ the Lord is risen today'  Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Charles Wesley’s first line in 1739 was ‘‘Christ the Lord is ris’n to Day’’, but the quotation marks have sometimes been omitted by lazy editors on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a grave error: an important feature of the hymn is that Wesley was quoting the earlier hymn in order to show that he could write a much better hymn for Easter Day than the original three simple stanzas...


Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain    John Macleod Campbell Crum (1872-1958)

Crum’s love of nature imagery is used to describe not only the Resurrection, but the re-awakening of the human heart after suffering and pain... 


The Servant King    Graham Kendrick (1950- )

This hymn was written for the Spring Harvest event of 1984, ‘to explore the vision of Christ as the servant who would wash the disciples’ feet but who was also the Creator of the universe’...


Mfurahini, Haleluya (‘Christ has arisen’)    Bernard Kyamanywa (b. 1938)   See: Tanzanian hymnody

‘Christ has arisen’ (‘Mfurahini, Haleluya’) is a translation of a Swahili text set to a Haya folk song...


Crown him with many crowns    Matthew Bridges (1800-94)

This hymn has been used in almost every English-language hymn book, but only after having been subjected to an extraordinary number of textual alterations... 


Jesus lives! thy terrors now     Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (1715-1769), translated by Frances Elizabeth Cox (1812-1897)

An alteration was made to the first line of the hymn, ‘with Miss Cox’s consent in order to avoid an apparent denial of the resurrection of Jesus which some musical settings of the opening line might produce’...


More of our favourite Easter hymns:

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle    Venantius Fortunatus (ca. 540- early 7th century) translated by John Mason Neale (1818–1866)

Thine be the glory, Risen conqu'ring Son    Edmond Louis Budry (1854-1932), translated by Richard Birch Hoyle (1875-1939)

The Day of Resurrection    Greek, St John Damascene (ca. 655 - ca. 745), translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Light’s abode, celestial Salem    Latin, 15th century, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Ye choirs of new Jerusalem   Fulbert of Chartres (ca. 960-1028), translated by Robert Campbell (1814-1868)

Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to heaven and voices raise    Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885)

Now is eternal life    George Wallace Briggs (1875-1959)