CHRIST AROSE written in 1874
This hymn may be one of the most dramatic hymns ever written. It begins dismally, and then strikes a note of hope, and then the chorus explodes with joy. The music itself comes rising up from the depth and celebrates on high.
Robert Lowry (1826-1899) wrote both the words and the music to this hymn in 1874.
At the time, Robert was a professor of Literature at Bucknell University, in PA, and pastor of a nearby church. He had written other hymn tunes and texts as he practiced his passion for poetry and song. He wrote: “Sometimes the music comes and the words follow. I watch my moods, and when anything strikes me, whether words or music, no matter where I am, at home, on the street, I jot it down. My brain is sort of a spinning machine, for there is music running through it all the time.”
In 1874, as he was reading from his Bible for his devotional time, on a day close to Easter, Robert was impressed with the simple words, “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6). He moved quickly to the pump organ in his living room, and the words and music came quickly. And this hymn has blessed the generations since!
It is probably the Easter hymn you think of first… though you may have thought it’s title is “Low in the Grave He Lay”…
Read this hymn, and – today – imagine the darkness of the tomb becoming Light.
Low in the grave He lay, Jesus, my Savior,
waiting the coming day, Jesus, my Lord!
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!
Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus, my Savior;
vainly they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord! (Refrain)
Death cannot keep his Prey, Jesus, my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus, my Lord! (Refrain)