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HYMN 33 Up From the Grave He Arose

Updated: May 3

John 20:1-10


Text: Robert Lowry (1826-1899) Tune: Robert Lowry (1826-1899)


1. Low in the grave he lay—

Robert Lowry

Jesus my Savior!

Waiting the coing day—

Jesus my Lord!

R/Up from the grave He arose,

With a mighty triumph o’er his foes

He arose a victor from the dark

domain,

And he lives forever with his saints to

reign,

He arose! He arose!

Hallelujah! Christ arose!


2. Vainly they watch his bed—

Jesus my Savior!

Vainly they seal the dead—

Jesus my Lord!

R/


3. Death cannot keep his prey—

Jesus, my Savior!

He tore the bars away—

Jesus my Lord!

R/


MEDITATION

I grew up in the last generation of Christians who spent Sunday night in church at

evening services and Wednesday night Bible studies. This was before the Ed

Sullivan show, or Steve Allen, became our Sunday evening devotionals. In a way the

Sunday evening services were vesper services, if you think liturgically.

The service generally involved a special speaker, missionary, singer, a singspiration,

or even an old 16mm movie run on a rickety old film projector that few could thread

properly. One of my favorite memories is watching my father looking on in

increasing frustration while a deacon or two would ponder its intricacies,

unsuccessfully, before we could watch the movie. When he heard that I could learn

how to do it my Junior high school, he made me take the course!


Every session would begin with a singspiration. We usually sang from the Gospel

songbook the church had in the pew rack, alongside the Concordia hymnal. This was

an old Lutheran tradition: the songbook alongside the hymnal, both important.

Sunday morning we used the hymnal, more formal; but Sunday evening, the

spiritual songbook came out and we had rousing times with both the American

gospel songs as well as Scandinavian spiritual songs, many by Lina Sandell,

“Children of the Heavenly Father,” or “Day by Day,” etc. We often used the English

songbook of Swedish Augustana, Youth’s Favorite Songs. Many of its selections came

from the beloved Hemlandssånger of 1892,


As I grew up, and my keyboard proficiency increased, I frequently served as the

substitute accompanist ready to take over when our regular organist was having

difficulties, the harbinger of which was her sticking her tongue out at my dad from

behind the organ. I had to be at the ready. (Preacher’s families had to be on line as

quick substitute musicians in small congregations, without seeming to want to be in

charge.)


This hymn came from our other gospel songbook, Christian Service Songs. My dad,

who had studied choral directing at Augsburg, would lead us. He loved the way this

hymn matched the words. The stanzas are dark and forbidding, like the grave. And

then the refrain rockets up, out of the lower clef into the heights, matching the

meaning of the text unusually well. He would have us linger on the penultimate

Arose! Those Sunday evening services have now gone the way of the dodo bird.

The music and songs we heard and sang as kids bring us back to those moments

when we hear them later in life. This one takes me back to those small gatherings in

a shoddily built small mission congregation in Oregon, after the war. Most of our

people were migrants from the Midwest. It was a small, poor, beginning

congregation. Every Sunday night we gathered, the winter rain sparkling in the

streetlights outside, and people rejoicing in their Savior. Although I was the

youngest there by decades and often a reluctant attendee, I cannot forget how Christ

made their very simple lives alive with joy, Paradise gleaming in their eyes past the

make shift sanctuary where we sang. “Up from the grave he arose!” Thanks be to

God.


HYMN INFO

Robert Lowry (1826-1899), who also wrote “Shall we Gather at the River,” became

one of America’s best known composer of gospel songs. Born in Philadelphia, he

attended the University of Lewisburg. A brilliant student he later served there as

Professor of Rhetoric. He became a pastor, and was known as a fine preacher. After

several pastorates, in 1880 he left for Europe where he studied among other places

at Leipzig, the place for composers at the time. These links direct you to a variety of

renditions from around the world. Sing along!


LINKS

Harmonious Chorale/Ghana

https://youtu.be/rtBhuRUAK6g


Free Presbyterians in Belfast, Ireland

https://youtu.be/fkSzdqRi6qI


Virtual Easter hymn sing/Mennonites

https://youtu.be/65BrlcYNMeo


Pre-school children/Panama City/with actions/fun

https://youtu.be/RxkOqJEjD84

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