Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
The Rt. Rev’d Dr. Felix Orji is the Diocesan Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West and the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM).
“Alleluia Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia.”
One of my favorite Easter hymns is the 17th-century Latin hymn , “Finita iam sunt proelia” translated into English in 1861 by Francis Pott. It reads:
“Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia
1. The strife is o’er, the battle done;
Now is the Victor’s triumph won;
O let the song of praise be sung.
Alleluia! 2. Death’s mightiest powers have done their worst, And Jesus hath his foes dispersed; Let shouts of praise and joy outburst. Alleluia! 3. On the third morn he rose again Glorious in majesty to reign; O let us swell the joyful strain. Alleluia! 4. He brake the age-bound chains of hell; The bars from heaven’s high portals fell; Let hymns of praise his triumph tell. Alleluia!
5. Lord, by the stripes which wounded thee From death’s dread sting thy servants free, That we may live, and sing to thee. Alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia”
I love this hymn because it spells out clearly the plundering(harrowing) of Hell and the enemy of our souls by our Lord Jesus Christ for our redemption. Jesus by his death and resurrection broke the chains of death and Hell over us and for us. In his resurrection he won the battle over death and hades and took the keys(deprived them of their power and authority) with him thereby giving those who believe in Him victory and freedom from the bondage of Satan forever.
By his resurrection Christ has proven that he is indeed the Sovereign Lord over creation, over death, over Satan, and over all evil. Death could not hold him down and Satan could not hold him captive. Darkness could not hide his blazing light. He won! He is victorious and we share in his victory by being united to him through faith in him.
This is why Easter season is the season of hope and shouts of triumph. It’s a season to rejoice and remind ourselves of the victory we already have in Christ. Our breakthrough is not around the corner. No, we already have our breakthrough in Christ and the evidence is his resurrection which heralds a glorious future for us in the new heavens and new earth when we shall receive the fullness thereof. So, as you face the death, the darkness, the gloom, and the problems of this present life remember that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us to purchase our freedom and restoration through his death and rose victorious to assure us of that. Do not let go of your hope in him and his promises. Hold on to them because He is alive and he will fulfill his promises to us who believe in his name.
We are Easter people and Alleluia is always and must always be our song because Jesus Christ is risen indeed and his victory is ours forever.
To God alone be glory and honor and praise forever and ever. Amen!