After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God.
John of Damascus had a circuitous route to writing two Easter hymns that have stood the test of time. The other one you may remember is The Day of Resurrection. John’s father was a Christian and the chief financial adviser to the Caliph, the man who built the mosque in Jerusalem known as the Dome of the Rock. John was wealthy and after his father died he assumed his position. In the meantime he experienced a spiritual call, he renounced his wealth and retired to a Greek monastery near Jerusalem. John spent the rest of his life there; and he derived great pleasure from his writings, preaching and hymns.
We are blessed to have The Day of Resurrection and Come, Ye Faithful Raise the Strain, thanks to the translator James Mason Neale. He translated these Latin hymns into English. The hymn begins by celebrating the Exodus – freedom from slavery to the Egyptians. It tells of how God brought Israel into joy from sadness. It then celebrates Christ’s resurrection – the freedom Christ achieved for us … freeing us from death and sin. What more can we do than sing Alleluia …praising God for what God has done.
Almighty God, we thank You for the stories of deliverance … freeing Israel from Egyptian bondage under the leadership of Moses and freeing us from sin and death by Christ’s dying on the cross and being raised to new life. We do sing Your praises and we welcome the opportunity to join our voices with others singing: Alleluia! In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.