Commemoration: John of Damascus

The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad,
The passover of gladness,
The passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
From sin’s dominion free,
Our Christ has brought us over
With hymns of victory.
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Let hearts be purged of evil
That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
Of resurrection light
And, list’ning to His accents,
May hear, so calm and plain,
His own “All hail!” and, hearing,
May raise the victor strain.
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Now let the heav’ns be joyful,
Let earth its song begin,
Let all the world keep triumph
And all that is therein.
Let all things, seen and unseen,
Their notes of gladness blend;
For Christ the Lord has risen,
Our joy that has no end.
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All praise to God the Father,
All praise to God the Son,
All praise to God the Spirit,
Eternal Three in One!
Let all the ransomed number
Fall down before the throne
And honor, pow’r and glory
Ascribe to God alone!

Today we commemorate John of Damascus, theologian and hymnwriter. You can find two of his Easter hymns in the Lutheran Service Book, and this one (#478) happens to be my favorite. Anyone looking for some organ-heavy karaoke this afternoon can listen to the tune and sing along here:

Born in 675 AD and died 749, John of Damascus is known as the last great Greek theologian. Before he became a priest, John gave up an influential position in the Islamic court to devote himself to Christianity. He argued against the prohibition of icons, wrote theological defenses against common heresies of the time, and summarized the orthodox faith and the writings of previous theologians in a book known as the Fount of Wisdom.