Sunday, March 31, 2013

One Song to Rule Them All: Happy Easter

One of the most special things about Easter Sunday is how unified Christianity is, even if just for the space of these 24 hours. The division between Catholicism and Protestantism, and between the furthering splintering among the sects of Henry VIII and Martin Luther, fall away before the mystery of Jesus Christ rising from the dead.

And there is one song that symbolizes this unity. In churches and cathedrals literally around the world the processional or recessional hymn today is "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today." It's a 1739 hymn by Charles Wesley, an English leader of the Methodist movement, based on a 14th century Latin hymn. A nice encapsulation of Christianity itself. I don't know if the eighth note motif was in that underlying 14th century hymn, but coping with them is another thing every Christian deals with in his or her own way.

Alas, in one version on YouTube, someone from East Liberty Presbyterian Church wrote: "Our cathedral joyously resounds with choir and members singing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today."

And then the comments took off with a pounce:
How can you be in a cathedral and be Presbyterian ??? You have to have bishops to have a cathedral. Like Episcopalian, Lutheran, Roman Catholic  ..

A cathedral is the church in which the diocesan Bishop's throne is housed, and Presbyterians most assuredly do not have Bishops. It is a large church, nothing more.

So, business as usual.

But the song. People can still at least be united in song.

Hereford Cathedral, Anglican
Hereford England, dating from 1079.

I love that the person who uploaded the video is French.
La maitrise et les fidèles de la cathédrale de Hereford chantent l'hymne "Jesus Christ is risen today" (Jésus Christ est ressuscité aujourd'hui) de Williams.

Northwood Presbyterian Church.
With a handbell choir! Love the comment "Trumpet stop was a nice touch on the 2nd verse."

Roman Catholic Church of Saint Michael, Stillwater, MN