Friday, April 29, 2011

the lips of a Unitarian...

Resurrection week concludes with this gem from "The Epworth Herald" (March 1903) an organ of the Methodist young adult organization, The Epworth League. It features a hymn by Henry Ware Jr.

"Memory Guild for Learning Best Hymns
Bishop H. W. Warron.
Our Resurrection Demonstrated.
One year Kansas raised grain enough to load a train that would reach from San Francisco to New York, and project 100 miles into the ocean at either end. But one loaf supplies our daily bread. There are many jubilant hymns on the unique fact of the resurrection of Christ. Let us be sure of one.
This hymn is chosen because its bounding dactylic measure is easy to learn and remember, because it has the same ringing keynote as the whole gospel—joy—and because it follows the scriptures in making the resurrection of Christ the whole assurance of ours. It recognizes the real terrors that gathered around him, and brings the angelic world and ours together on this, as on every needful occasion. The contrasts of "fetters of darkness " and " resplendent in glory," of "if death were our end " and " immortal, to heaven ascend," are gloriously graphic.
It is good to hear the old Methodist and angelic shout of "Glory to God!" from the lips of a Unitarian. This is Boston at its best
Resurrection is revelation. There are plenty of hints—butterflies from grubs, waving wheat from decayed grain—which are recognized after resurrection is demonstrated, but never before.
None of these hints nor the great example require an identic body of flesh to be raised—even the living shall be changed as they are caught up in the air. "An appearance like lightning," and a "countenance as the sun shining in his strength," at sight of which one who had seen the transfiguration fell at his feet as dead, is not made of mortal flesh.
But let us turn to the bounding billows of the hymn:

Lift your glad voices In triumph on high,
For Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die;
Vain were the terrors that gathered around him,
And short the dominion of death and the grave;
He burst from the fetters of darkness that bound

Resplendent in glory, to live and to save:
Loud was the chorus of angels on high—
The Saviour hath risen, and man shall not die.

Glory to God! in full anthems of joy;
The being he gave us death cannot destroy:
Sad were the life we may part with to-morrow,
If tears were our birthright, and death were our

But Jesus hath cheered that dark valley of sorrow,
And hade us, immortal, to heaven ascend;
Lift, then, your voices in triumph on high,
For Jesus hath risen, and man shall not die.
(Henry Ware, Jr.)

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