Let shouts of holy joy outburst! Alleluia! “The Strife is Over, the Battle Done” (464), the ENTRANCE HYMN, is a Latin hymn from the twelfth century. It is adapted to a tune on the Gloria Patri by Giovanni Palestrina (1525-1594). English composer William H. Monk (1823-1889), editor of Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861 and 1868), adapted Palestrina’s work to fit the English translation of this Latin text. The triumphant tune and alleluia fanfare that begins and ends the hymn is a match for the text:
He broke the age-bound chains of hell;
The bars from heaven’s high portals fell.
Let hymns of praise His triumph tell. Alleluia!
You have brought us life and light! Alleluia! The DISTRIBUTION HYMN, “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” (633) is from sometime in the sixth-ninth centuries. The English text was used with numerous different tunes until it was set to this fifteenth-century Bohemian tune in the Worship Supplement (1969).
His people to deliver. The CLOSING HYMN, Luther’s “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” (458), ranks among the greatest Easter hymns, with its strong text and musical heritage connecting it to the great Easter Sequence (459-460). It is especially appropriate with the Holy Gospel for this day: “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” Jesus, Our Good Shepherd, gives His life as the sacrifice for sin, in order to give us life:
Here our true Paschal Lamb we see, Whom God so freely gave us.
And in His Holy Supper, He has given us life in the forgiveness of sin:
Christ alone our souls will feed; He is our meat and drink indeed; Faith lives upon no other! Alleluia!