Christ The Lord Is Risen Today
Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1739, less than a year after his conversion. It was first sung in the Foundry Meeting House, an old iron foundry in London that Wesley converted to religious purposes. Wesley’s original version had eleven stanzas. Some hymns perfectly capture the spirit of their season, and that is true of this hymn. The first line, “Christ the Lord is risen today,” sets the tone and tells us what we are celebrating. “Raise your joys and triumphs high,” suggests how to celebrate.
The original hymn had no Alleluias. It seems as if the hand of God directed what came next. Someone whose name has been lost in time decided to set the words to the tune that we now use - a tune by a composer whose name has also been lost in time. But the words didn’t fit the tune, so he added the Alleluias to make it fit. The perfect Easter hymn, then, came into being through the work of three different people who probably never met. It is unlikely that any of the three had any idea how much their hymn would add to our celebration of Easter.