Hymns at Easter: ‘This joyful Eastertide’

Third Sunday for Easter 26 April 2020
‘This joyful Eastertide’ by Fred Pratt Green

Fred Pratt Green was a Circuit minister for many years and knew what people needed to have in their hymns.

They needed confidence, honesty and joy. This Easter hymn which can be found in Singing the Faith (No314) embraces all those Easter experiences.

The Risen Christ comes questioning us
‘This joyful Eastertide, what need is there for grieving’?

He comes to us with promises
‘No work for him is (in) vain’
‘He’ll never quit his keeping (of us)’.

The author is referring to the story of the encounter with Jesus on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:13-24). This is a hymn for disillusioned Christians. We may feel thwarted by events, imprisoned in circumstances which we cannot control but

Come, share our Easter joy
That death could not imprison,
Nor any power destroy,
Our Christ, who is arisen!

This is the invitation of the Church from all the centuries before us. This is the tradition of worship and witness of which we are the beneficiaries. It is the experience of countless people in all sorts of places and times.

I recall worshipping one Sunday with a Baptist church in a broken down factory building in down-town Dhaka in Bangladesh. The congregation all came from a day’s work. The service began as 6.30pm and lasted for over three hours. What I remember was their delight in singing the praises of God. Although it was February we sang Easter songs. In the darkness we sang of the joy of that new dawn. I was the preacher but I left with the gift of their faithful confidence which still echoes down the years.

As we read in the Epistle for Today:

‘Through Jesus Christ you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God’
1 Peter1:21.

So may we abide in Easter Peace.

Rev John Rackley