Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain

Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain

Hymn texts have a way of shaping the culture of our community and reminding us of the great narratives of our faith. Often sung during the Vigil of Easter, "Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain" anticipates the joy of the resurrection and lifts up a repeated theme of deliverance.

Israel was freed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke and brought through the Red Sea with "feet unmoistened" to freedom. Similarly, Jesus' three days of sleep and his resurrection have brought us from our prison of death, to a "royal feast" and the "peace that passes human knowing." The rich text and lovely tune have shaped our communal identity and touched our souls. The impact of this shaping comes to light during certain sacred moments.

I remember little about the sermon at my father's funeral, but I shall never forget the profound comfort rendered by the congregation singing hymns of faith—hymns that recalled Jesus' victory over death and his promise of new life with him. Sometimes a poet speaks more clearly than a preacher. Sometimes a tune touches more deeply than a word.

Gracious Holy Spirit, enter our hearts and usher us into a life filled with the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain

1 Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought his Israel
Into joy from sadness,
Loosed from Pharaoh's bitter yoke
Jacob's sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot
Through the Red Sea waters.

2 This the spring of souls today:
Christ has burst his prison
And from three days' sleep in death
As a sun has risen;
All the winter of our sins,
Long and dark, is flying
From his light, to whom is given
Laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright
With the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts
Comes its joy to render;
Comes to gladden faithful hearts
Which with true affection
Welcome in unwearied strain
Jesus' resurrection!

4 For today among his own
Christ appeared, bestowing
His deep peace, which evermore
Passes human knowing.
Neither could the gates of death
Nor the tomb's dark portal
Nor the watchers nor the seal
Hold him as a mortal.

5 Alleluia! Now we cry
To our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars
Of the tomb's dark portal
Come, you faithful, raise the strain
Of triumphant gladness!
God has brought his Israel
Into joy from sadness!

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