Easter Triumph, Easter Joy!
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing, praise to our victorious King,
Who has washed us in the tide flowing from His piercèd side.
Easter triumph, Easter joy! This alone can sin destroy;
From sin’s power, Lord, set us free, newborn souls in You to be.
The beautiful Easter hymn “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” was written by Robert Campbell (1814-1868), a Scottish lawyer and hymnist who, after a journey from Presbyterianism to Anglo-Catholicism, became a Roman Catholic when he was thirty-eight. The joy of Christ’s victory over sin and death on Easter Sunday is well-captured in the words of his poetic song of praise.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed, Paschal victim, Paschal bread!
With sincerity and love, eat we manna from above.
Mighty victim from the sky, Hell’s s fierce powers beneath you lie;
You have conquered in the fight, You have brought us life and light.
Sin is a powerful force—in our lives and in our culture. At times we seem to be overwhelmed by evil, and discouragement tempts us into passivity and/or ungodly recriminations against those who promote evil. Yet this surrender to a bitter defeatist spirit only happens when we forget the power of Christ’s victory on Easter Day; when we lose sight of the “life and light” he brought us.
Now no more can death appall, now no more the grave enthrall;
You have opened Paradise, and in you the saints shall rise.
We follow Jesus in this life, sharing in the agony of his passion and death in small, and sometimes not so small, ways. Yet, his triumph is our triumph; we already share in the peace that was his Easter greeting to his disciples. Jesus’ peace is ours when we recognize that he blesses us each day with the assurance that “Hell’s fierce powers” still lie beneath the feet of him who rose from the dead.
The Church celebrates the Easter Season for fifty days (until Pentecost Sunday). This time of rejoicing is a foretaste of the beatific vision, the everlasting gift of seeing God face to face that is granted to those who die in loving union with Our Lord. Let us take advantage of this time of spiritual refreshment to remind ourselves that those who follow the “Lamb once slain who lives now forever” are on the winning side, no matter how extensive or powerful the forces arraigned against us may appear to be. Our faithfulness to God includes an absolute conviction that goodness and truth and love have already won out over the evil and lies and hatred that have plagued human society since the Fall of Adam and Eve. We know that God works his ways in our lives. It is up to us to discover each day how we should imitate our Savior so as to share fully in his victory over sin and death.
Disappointment is a natural reaction in a fallen world where the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” But the message of Easter is that all possible disappointments, past, present and future, were resolved and overcome when Christ rose from the dead.
Hymns of glory, songs of praise, Father, unto thee we raise:
And to you, our risen King, with the Spirit, praise we sing.
Happy Easter everyone!
Happy Easter, Fr. Murray!