ACCLAMATION and READING
A new creation comes to life and grows
as Christ’s new body takes on flesh and blood.
The universe, restored and whole, will sing: Alleluia!
(UMH #610, st. 3)
Romans 6: 3-11
3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Glory and praise to the risen Christ!
While Eastertide continues the celebration of our risen Lord, we are also reminded of the connection Easter has to the sacrament of baptism. As Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, so baptism offers us death to sin and a new life in Christ. The hymn “We Know That Christ Is Raised” (UMH #610) is a wonderful reflection of the resurrection through the lens of baptism.
Rev. John Brownlow Geyer (1932-2020), a Congregational minister, was deeply educated in Theology, and had written many articles and biblical commentaries during his ministry. This hymn demonstrates his mastery of poetry as well!
It should be noted that he wrote this hymn in 1967, and first published in 1969, in opposition to the controversial experimentation of “test-tube babies” happening at the time. In his own words: “The hymn attempted to illustrate the Christian doctrine of baptism in relation to those experiments.” He later made changes to the second stanza that refocused the hymn toward the celebration of the risen Christ.
The hymn was specifically set to the tune ENGELBERG, composed in 1904 by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924). Born in Dublin, Ireland, Stanford was a prolific composer, music teacher, and conductor. This beautifully triumphant tune had fallen out of use until Geyer wrote this hymn for it, and what a pairing it is!
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
— Book of Common Prayer, 1979
Offered by Joche Wilmot, Director of Music Ministries