I could have picked a hundred songs and would still have only scratched the surface of attempts made to express the wonder and the glory of the weekend that changed the course of human history. Rightly so, the cross and resurrection of Christ remain (and will forever remain) the fascination and cornerstone of all Christian endeavour (including it’s music). Here’s just a small selection.
‘I’m coming to the cross again‘ by Stuart Townend
A simple, stripped-back and honest worship song by the well-known wordsmith, Stuart Townend. There are so many good lines in this song but the ones that hit me hardest are these:
I feel the shame of shallowness, the kind of measured holiness that seems to fit the life I want to live.
How much of this is wood and straw? I want to work for something more than piety, respectability
How often have I found myself ‘trying hard to be someone’ until, in tears, I’m touched by Jesus’ love again (often through worship music like this) and remember where my focus should be.
‘This Blood‘ by Carman
Before I became a Christian, I was invited by a mature student at my 6th Form College to a ‘gig’ (well, that’s how she described it but it was actually an evangelistic outreach event – sneaky!). After the joyful worship-band finished their first set of pop songs with God lyrics (that’s how I described this unfamiliar genre at the time), this song was played as three people mimed the story of Jesus’ road to the cross. Something like this would usually have made me laugh but instead I found myself engrossed as my stomach became increasingly unsettled – it was so powerful and it felt like it was just aimed at me! This moment set me on course to find out about this Jesus and this blood which was poured out for me and for the whole world.
‘The cross is still there’ by Ian White
Ian White is one of those Christian songwriters who has rarely had the limelight but who has continued to write some great songs of worship and evangelism to equip the church. This one is written to someone who has lost their faith, reminding them that God’s love hasn’t changed towards them; the cross is still there and it still calls out to them, and to us.
‘Resurrection Day’ by Rend Collective
Here’s another belter from Rend Collective that speaks of the power of the resurrection to change lives:
Because You’re risen I can rise, Because You’re living I’m alive
Because Your cross is powerful, Because You rose invincible – I can get up off the floor
It’s a song of defiance that declares Easter Sunday to be not just some theological idea that helps us to feel better, but the day that changed everything and the act which still brings people ‘back from the dead’. We could sing it everyday!
This is my resurrection day – Nothing’s gonna hold me down
‘The Victor’ by Keith Green
I discovered Keith Green as a new Christian and was inspired by his biography ‘No Compromise’ which challenged me to really ‘get serious’ for God and try to live the sort of sacrificial life Jesus modelled. Though Keith was flawed (as we all are), his short life reflected the high ideals his music often declared and demanded. I like so many of his songs; his humour, his instrumental virtuosity, his honesty, but this one is particularly fitting on Easter Day:
All the power of death is dead. It is finished – he has done it – life conquered death; Jesus Christ has won it!
‘King of Kings’ by Hillsong
The writers at Hillsong have penned so many brilliant songs that have been incorporated in to the repertoire of the worldwide worshipping church (Do they still have time to eat three meals a day?!) and here’s yet another. Like many of the old hymns, it sets the Easter weekend in the context of a bigger story; this time from the promise of Jesus’ birth to the birth of the church:
In the darkness, we were waiting, without hope, without light
‘Til from Heaven You came running, there was mercy in Your eyes
To fulfill the law and prophets, to a virgin came the Word
From a throne of endless glory, to a cradle in the dirt
If you don’t feel at least a small surge of passion by the time you get to the final verse, you might want to check you are still breathing!
And the church of Christ was born, then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old, shall not kneel, shall not faint
By His blood and in His name, in His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ who has resurrected me
‘The Love of God’ by Ascend the Hill
This very creative re-working of an old hymn (the third verse was written in the 11th Century by a Jewish Rabbi and then later adopted and added to by a Christian writer in the early 20th Century) contains some of the most inspiring words ever written about God’s love. These words were found scratched on the wall of an insane asylum by a patient some 200 years earlier, which makes this hymn even more fascinating and moving. It reiterates the fact that even in a place of human isolation and suffering, God’s love is indescribably overwhelming:
Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.
Let’s thank God for the amazing gift of music which gives voice and melody to our desire to praise him who ‘so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John chapter 3 verse 16)
Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again!