407. Christ the Lord Ascends to Reign

1 Christ the Lord ascends to reign,
Christ has broken every chain;
hear the angel voices cry,
singing evermore on high:

Refrain (may be sung after last stanza only):
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Through the universe it rings
that the Lamb is King of kings:

2 Christ, who bore all pain and loss,
comfortless upon the cross,
lives in glory now on high,
pleads for us and hears our cry:
Alleluia! Refrain

3 Christ, our paschal Lamb indeed,
all your ransomed people feed;
take our sin and guilt away;
let us sing by night and day:
Alleluia! Refrain

4 Christ now bids us tell abroad
how the lost may be restored,
how the penitent forgiven,
how we all may enter heaven:
Alleluia! Refrain

Text Information
First Line: Christ the Lord ascends to reign
Title: Christ the Lord Ascends to Reign
Author: Michael Wiesse (1531)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1858, alt.)
Refrain First Line: Alleluia, alleluia
Meter: 77 77 4 with refrain
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Scripture: ; ; ; ;
Topic: Ascension & Reign of Christ; Alleluias; Lamb of God (2 more...)
Tune Information
Harmonizer: Dale Grotenhuis (1984)
Meter: 77 77 4 with refrain
Key: a minor
Copyright: Harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 2 = Rom. 8:34, Heb. 7:25
st. 4 = John 3:5

As a basis for his text "Christus ist erstanden," Michael Weisse (b. Neisse, Silesia, Poland, c. 1480; d. Landskron, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia, 1534) turned to the same earlier sources that Martin Luther had turned to just a few years earlier (PHH 398). Weisse also reworked the older chorale "Christ ist erstanden," at that time a popular "leise"–a song that included a "Kyrie eleison" refrain shortened to "kirleis" or "leis." The original "Christ is erstanden" was developed from the Latin sequence “Victimae Paschali laudes” (c. 1100). Weisse's chorale was published in the first German-language Bohemian hymnal Ein Neugesängbuchlein (1531), which he edited. The hymnal contained 155 hymns, with some original texts written by Weisse and others translated by him from Bohemian. Many of Weisse's hymn texts also found their way into later German hymnals.

Weisse was a monk in Breslau when he came in contact with the writings of Martin Luther. After leaving the Roman Catholic Church, he joined the Bohemian Brethren, spiritual descendants of John Hus, who were later called Moravians. A leader among the Bohemian Brethren, Weisse established a number of their German-speaking communities and was sent to consult with Luther on issues of theology.

Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) translated Weisse's text, which was published in her Lyra Germanica (1858). Originally entitled "Song of Triumph," the translation began with the words, "Christ the Lord is risen again." The Psalter Hymnal includes Winkworth's stanzas 1, 3, 7, and 6 (in that order).

Stanzas 1 and 2 focus on the Christ, who suffered death on the cross but who is now exalted in glory as our mediator. Stanza 3 is a prayer especially suited for celebration of Lord's Supper. Stanza 4 encourages us to preach the good news to extend Christ's kingdom. Each stanza concludes with an "alleluia." The final refrain rings in even more “alleluias” and includes the cosmic testimony “the Lamb is King of kings!”

Liturgical Use:
Easter; Ascension; Lord's Supper.

Tune Information:

CHRIST IST ERSTANDEN is derived from the twelfth-century chant melody for "Victimae Paschali laudes" (which also produced CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN, 398). The tune was first published in Joseph Klug's (PHH 126) Geistliche Lieder (1533).

This ancient tune, originally in Dorian mode, consists of several melodic units that are repeated and varied. Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) wrote the harmonization in 1984. Sing stanzas 14 in unison with light accompaniment, but sing the "alleluia" at the end of each stanza in harmony. Use full accompaniment on the final refrain. Try also to sing some of the "alleluias" unaccompanied and/or incorporate the use of antiphonal groups.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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