|First Line:||I serve a risen Savior|
|Title:||I Serve a Risen Savior|
|Author:||A. H. Ackley (1933)|
|Meter:||220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168 with refrain|
|Refrain First Line:||He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today|
|Copyright:||© 1933. Renewed 1961 Word Music, LLC.|
ref. = Luke 24:6
Written by Presbyterian minister Alfred H. Ackley (b. Spring Hill, PA, 1887; d. Whittier, CA, 1960), both text and tune were published in the Rodeheaver hymnal Triumphant Service Songs (1933). (Rodeheaver was a gospel song publisher.) As told by hymnal editor George Sanville, the following incident provided the spark for Ackley's inspiration: a young Jewish man asked evangelist/musician Ackley, "Why should I worship a dead Jew?" To which Ackley replied,
But Jesus lives! He lives! I tell you. He is not dead, but lives here and now. Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as by the testimony of countless thousands.
Sanville goes on to explain,
Mr. Ackley's forthright, emphatic answer, together with his subsequent triumphant effort to win the man for Christ, flowered forth into song and crystallized into a convincing sermon on "He lives!" . . . The scriptural evidence, his own heart, and the testimony of history matched the glorious experience of an innumerable cloud of witnesses that "He lives," so he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song.
-Forty Gospel Hymn Stories, 1943
Ackley wrote the words and/or tunes to at least a thousand gospel songs and hymns in collaboration with his brother Bentley. Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he was an accomplished cellist. Ackley graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland and served Presbyterian churches in California and Pennsylvania. In addition to writing his own hymns, he edited hymnals and gospel song¬books for the Rodeheaver Publishing Company.
Easter; equally useful on many other occasions of worship.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook