Early Church Poetry: ‘Tis the Day of Resurrection

While trying to figure out how to get some sleep in the midst of fighting off a cold and a swirling mind (despite an exhausted body), I remembered that one of the worst things you can do is try keep trying to fall asleep.  Why? It has been shown that the more we focus on trying to fall asleep the less likely we will actually fall asleep due to our worrying about not being able to sleep.

poetry quil penSo, I took my own advice and rolled out of bed, grabbed volume four of History of the Christian Church by Schaff and decided to do some reading and chip away at one of my 40 x 40 list items.  While beginning to slide towards sleep I encountered a section on early church poetry and one of the poems caught my attention.

The poem ‘Tis the Day of Resurrection by St. John of Damascus (d. AD 780) on page 413 goes like this:

‘Tis the Day of Resurrection,
Earth, tell it out abroad!
The Passover of gladness,
The Passover of God!
From death to life eternal,
From earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over,
With hymns of victory.

Our hearts be pure from evil,
That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
Of resurrection light:
And, listening to His accents,
May hear, so calm and plain,
His own “All Hail!” – and hearing,
May raise the victor strain.

Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth her song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein:
In grateful exultation
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen,
Our joy that hath no end.

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