Hymns at Easter: ‘A new day dawns’

Fourth Sunday for Easter 3 May 2020
‘A new day dawns’ by Andrew T Murphy

We are in the season of Easter worship until Ascension Day and I have chosen as our hymn for this Sunday one written by our minister Andy. It is not in Singing the Faith but can be found on the Singing the Faith+ website.

A new day dawns; a new word spoken
breaks the silence of the night.
The First-born Prince of Life has woken;
hear his voice: ‘Let there be light!’

A new day dawns; a new creation
brighter than the first big bang:
Now heaven floods to every nation;
New life where the death-tolls rang.

A new day dawns; a different garden
sees the Firstborn breathe once more.
His grace has smashed the curse of Eden;
Love has opened up the door.

A new day dawns, and new potential
sweeps into our time and space:
No tomb can hold him, Love Essential;
Peace shines from his glorious face.

A new day dawns; his feet are treading
on this old world’s worn-out ways.
And with each step fresh hope is spreading –
launching countless more new days.

A new day dawns; a new tomorrow
greets the children of the Light,
where neither tears, nor death, nor sorrow
dare to reach Love’s wondrous height.

© Andrew T. Murphy.

If you go to the website you will find a helpful introduction to the themes of the hymn exploring Andy’s characteristic integration of science and faith.

A new day dawns; a new creation
brighter than the first big bang:

Teihard de Chardin was a Roman Catholic theologian who wrote in the opening decades of last century. He was once asked why he talked about atoms and molecules so much. He explained ‘Christ is not just an anthropological event but a cosmic phenomenon as well’. The Resurrection had to make all the difference to how people considered Jesus of Nazareth. He was more than a historical figure. What had happened to him transcended the usual categories of explanation.

When a dead body is brought to new life, the very physical structure of the universe is being rearranged – atoms and molecules are being transformed.

In his hymn Andy blends the human with the cosmic. The Easter Christ emerges in the tears, death and sorrow of our world. The Risen Jesus is the first-born Prince of Life.

A new day dawns, and new potential
sweeps into our time and space.

And it all happened in a garden; in fact two gardens (Genesis 2:15 & John 19:41). The Garden of Eden and the garden where they took the body of Jesus to lay his body. But a new reality has come to birth and a different garden
sees the Firstborn breathe once more.
His grace has smashed the curse of Eden.

What an image is that. The Grace of God is a fistful of love. There is nothing soft about Grace. It takes on all that reduces our capacity for hope and faith. It has trodden down the deceit of fake power. And it is heard in the voice of a friend.
Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. Jesus came, stood behind and spoke her name and she turned in delight and exclaimed ‘Rabbi’. (John 20:11-17)

But something is different. She cannot embrace him in the old way. A new day is dawning and heaven waits to flood the nations. Mary cannot hold back the Risen Rabbi. He is on his way into the presence of the Father who had given him his mission. He was just passing through the garden, as it were. He is no longer a teacher in Israel. His teaching must now be heard in the language and style of countless cultures. (Matthew 28:18-20). It will be a teaching that will launch countless more new days; one day at a time.

Each Easter we sing some very special hymns and songs. They are like the carols of Christmas. They are time-specific. But Easter Faith is not about a particular time on the calendar. Each new day is a dawn of Easter glory – he is risen and we are not alone.

Rev John Rackley