Sunday, May 9, 2010

Whither Easter?

One of the joys I find in church is singing hymns, and my favorite season for hymns is not Christmas but Easter. The Hymnal 1982 has 39 hymns under the heading “Christmas” and 40 hymns, most of them wonderful, labeled “Easter.” After all, Christmas is a late comer to the church year, but Christianity itself is inconceivable without Easter.

Here’s a short list of some of my favorite Easter hymns:
  1. “At the Lamb’s high feast we sing” (#174)
  2. “Hail thee, festival day!” (#175)
  3. “‘Welcome, happy morning!’” (#179)
  4. “He is risen, he is risen!” (#180)
  5. “Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.” (#182)
  6. “Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands” (#186)
  7. “This joyful Easter tide” (#192)
  8. “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain” (#199)
  9. Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!’ (#205)
  10. Jesus Christ is risen today” (#207)
  11. “The Strife is o’er, the battle done” (#208)
  12. “The day of resurrection!” (#210)
  13. “Awake, arise, lift up your voice” (#212)
  14. “Come away to the skies” (#213)
And don’t assume the ones I left out are not also terrific, but some are a bit obscure.

Unfortunately, for at least the second year in a row, we are singing few Easter hymns in the Easter season. I complained about this to Dr. Starr last year, and I did again this year, but we still are singing few Easter hymns other than at the Easter Vigil or on Easter Sunday. Today, for example, we sang five hymns. They are listed in the hymnal under the following headings: “Thanksgiving Day” (!), “Christian Responsibility,” “Epiphany” (!), “Holy Eucharist,” and “Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I don’t know who is choosing the hymns at St. Paul’s, but I, for one, am feeling cheated. I want to celebrate the resurrection!

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