Praise the Lord, the day is won! Glory, hallelujah! God for us great things has done. Sing, shout hallelujah! Now let all the earth proclaim resurrection wonder; in God’s all-enduring name, death is cast asunder!
Loosed from chains by bondage cast; glory, hallelujah! God has freed our souls at last. Sing, shout hallelujah! Slaves held captive for so long, scarred by sin and sadness, lift anew their victory song, filled with joy and gladness!
As God’s Spirit moved the sea; glory, hallelujah! set our hearts at liberty. Sing, shout hallelujah! In our darkest, dreadful day, crushed by grief and mourning; God will roll the stone way, m radiant love adorning.
God’s great covenant is sealed! Glory, hallelujah! Our salvation is revealed. Sing, shout hallelujah! Plagues no more confound the flock, flames nor flood assail us; sure as water from the rock, God will never fail us!
Faithful in the Lord rejoice. Glory, hallelujah! Raise to God your new-found voice. Sing, shout hallelujah! Crowned with full redemption’s light, by God’s grace befriended; life, behold the glorious sight; death, your reign is ended!
Who knows what hymn/psalms Paul and companions sang in prison and elsewhere? Psalm 105 is a good one to attract attention, being so definitely focussed on praising God, allowing questions to be asked – “What are you singing about?” Here, recast as a hymn of the resurrection and then a hymn of the apostles, in both the Psalm and the hymn, the covenant is recognised as sealed / completed. The re-creation of the Universe, begun by the Incarnation, is completed in the Resurrection: ‘now let all the earth proclaim resurrection wonder’.
Simply, the first verse tells that all creation is freed; death cast out, not just for people but all creation – “I saw a new heaven and a new earth”. The repeating lines in each verse feel like a gasp as the full meaning hits home. Does it really mean this ! ?
The second verse says that all who are chained by sin and sadness can now lift anew a victory song. An interesting word “anew”, meaning “in a different way”, not simply renewing what is but a word that is frequently taken to mean ‘in a more positive way’.
Following that, the third verse is perhaps the most directed at human praise for the resurrection.
The fourth looks at animal life – plagues, flood and fire all being scourges that the rest of the created world finds difficult to escape. Even humanity, with God given abilities to research and cure, finds it easier to make problems than to solve them. The Exodus event is implicitly contrasted with the Resurrection: whereas before the plague and flood liberated slaves, now we are liberated from such things.
Then finally, in the fifth verse we sing glory and hallelujah to God for the grace which befriends and ends death. Sing, shout hallelujah. There is nothing more can we do.
P.S. the words also fit very well to the version of Tempus adest floridum used for Good King Wenceslas.
Glory, hallelujah, sing, shout. What better way can we praise you, God creator, than by giving all the glory in song and exclamation that we can? Source, guide and goal we give you all glory, alleluia. Amen.
The Rev’d Ruth Browning, retired minister worshipping in Thornbury URC