7 Awesome songs to sing this Easter season
''Jesus is risen and we shall arise: give God the glory! Alleluia!"
It was on the final note of that refrain Easter morning that my almost four-year-old daughter, Anne, let her voice ring through the cathedral -- and keep ringing for about an extra four beats with her arm thrust outward like she was Elsa singing "Let It Go."
It was adorable and panic-inducing at the same time. We were on Verse 1, I thought. How enthusiastic will she be by the time we get to Verse 4?
To say Anne was pumped for Easter would be an understatement. Of course, she was excited for the day, the Easter basket, the egg hunts and the rest. But she might have been most excited about finally being able to say the "A word," which, naturally, had been taboo during the long six weeks of Lent -- particularly long to a little girl who is accustomed to saying whatever she wants at whatever time she likes.
So to celebrate Easter, and our renewed ability to be able to shout our praise to God at the top of our lungs, we put together an "Alleluia! He is Risen!" Easter playlist. If you are also rejoicing in your Alleluias this Easter season, some of these tracks that have a special place in our Easter season might be of interest to you.
"Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!" This traditional hymn (mentioned above), written by Herbert Brokering and set to the tune of "Earth and All Stars," is a mainstay during Easter at our parish, and every year I forget how much I love it. I understand why my daughter wants to sing out the chorus and proclaim Christ risen!
"Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah." We can't do without this classic that is sometimes more associated with Christmas than Easter, and which is chock full of the A-word (or technically the H-word in this case). There is a lot of mumbling during the majority of the song, but the conducting and the Hallelujahs are solid. "For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!"
"Agnus Dei" by Michael W. Smith. This gradually building version starts with Alleluias that feel like they are full of the wonder and newness of the Resurrection. "Alleluia, Alleluia, for our Lord God Almighty reigns!" Full disclosure: The kids think this song is kind of boring, but I first heard this in college while on a retreat, and it maintains a special place in my heart.
"Jesus Christ Is Risen Today." Another classic hymn that is so iconic that it practically can't be the Easter season without it. My favorite verse is the third, bringing us directly from the passion of Good Friday into the joy of Easter: "But the pains which he endured, Alleluia! Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia! Now above the sky he's king, Alleluia! Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!"
"Resurrection Day" by Matt Maher. OK so this song doesn't actually have an "Alleluia" in it, but anyone who's read my column for any length of time knows that I am a big fan of Maher's music -- and I have now officially succeeded in indoctrinating my children. The intro guitar riff, plus the drums, and the "We sing for joy, we shout your name, we celebrate your Resurrection Day!" lyrics make it so full of Easter joy that it's a must-listen in our house (and a must-dance).
"Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)" covered by the Daughters of St. Paul. Fine, this doesn't technically have any Alleluias in it either, but it is such an Easter favorite in our home that I can't leave it off the list. The lyrics take the listener on a journey from the Incarnation through the passion and resurrection, and finally to the promise of the Second Coming that it's hard not to be filled with joy while listening. "Living, He loved me; Dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justified freely forever; One day He's coming; Oh glorious day, oh glorious day."
"This Is the Feast of Victory." Finally, this Lutheran hymn is based on Revelation 5 and is filled with triumph -- and a boatload of Alleluias -- that make it a delight to sing. "Power, riches and wisdom and strength, and honor and blessing and glory are his. This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!"
Indeed it is. May your Easter season continue to be filled with enthusiastic praise to God. Alleluia!
- Gretchen R. Crowe is the editor-in-chief of OSV News. Follow her on Twitter @GretchenOSV.