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Appreciating Our Lutheran Hymns

Hallelujah! Jesus Lives!

An Easter Hymn

#188 in the Lutheran Hymnal

In Acts chapter 19 we find the apostle Paul on his third missionary journey, spending a good deal of time in the city of Ephesus. The Spirit converted many through the Gospel that Paul preached, and this caused no small stir. Demetrius and other silversmiths, whose trade was “in danger of falling into disrepute” (v. 27), caused an uproar in the open theater. We read that “the whole city was filled with confusion. . . . Some therefore cried one thing and some another, . . . and most of them did not know why they had come together (vv. 29, 32, our emphasis).

While our church services are a far cry from a mob scene or an uproar (and happily so!), it is still important that we know why we “come together.” In this month’s hymn Carl B. Garve helps us to answer the question of why we come together, particularly on Easter Sunday.

We gather together to “Praise Him in a nobler song,” for “He is now the Living One.” In Jesus, our risen Lord, we have the answer to the problem of sin. His death atoned for us all. His resurrection is the Father’s seal of approval that His payment on the cross was sufficient.

Yes, “Jesus lives! Why weepest thou?” What Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene at the tomb Garve would have us ask ourselves. We need not weep anymore, for “He who died our Brother here Lives our Brother still on high!” In Him “Life eternal waits for thee. . . . Where He is, thou, too, shalt be!”

As we celebrate Easter this year, may Garve’s words help remind us why we have come together: “Hallelujah! Jesus lives!” May that wondrous truth serve to draw to Him your heart “with ever new delight”!

–Pastor Paul Krause