As we approach Easter this year, there is a deep sense of collective exhaustion. The last two years have been trying and tiring and, at least for me, spiritually draining. Gospel truths have felt dampened by the continual storm of the pandemic, sometimes pouring, sometimes only sprinkling, but always there.
There has been an influx of new secular and christian music addressing the state of the world - lamentations, chorus’s of hope and perseverance, reflections and prayers. These songs have soothed and comforted us as the brokenness of the world has become ever more apparent. Yet, this Easter, I wonder if our eyes need to be turned away from the world and ourselves and back to our great Saviour and creator.
Yet, this Easter, I wonder if our eyes need to be turned away from the world and ourselves and back to our great Saviour and creator.
Philip Bliss, who penned ‘Hallelujah, What a Saviour’ in the mid 1850’s was a singing evangelist. It is said that the last time Bliss sang this hymn was for a collection of prisoners at the state prison in Jackson, Michigan where many inmates gave their life to Jesus. Bliss’s simple yet powerful lyrics raised the eyes of the prisoner beyond their own circumstance to the ‘man of sorrows’ who came to reclaim them from the depths of their sin.
Proclaiming the truths of Isaiah’s (52:13 - 53:12) suffering servant, ‘Hallelujah! What a Saviour!’ is a poetic account of the gospel. It is a beautiful retelling of the crucifixion, atonement and ultimate exaltation of Christ woven with the personal confession of the sinner’s heart. It celebrates the great story of salvation as we exclaim ‘Hallelujah!’. The jubilance of this exclamation at the end of each verse reminds me of the great joy we can have in Christ. The son of God, descended to earth to reclaim us, Hallelujah! He took the punishment we deserved on the cross so we would be pardoned, Hallelujah! Jesus has defeated death and reigns above, Hallelujah! He is coming again to take us home where we will forever sing, Hallelujah, what a saviour!
As we continue to find our way through the brokenness of life, through pandemics, wars and natural disasters, sing loudly of Christ’s saving work.
So as we gather this Easter to reflect and rejoice in Jesus’ death and resurrection I encourage you to lift your voice to sing ‘Hallelujah’. Whether you approach this season disheartened, weary, inspired or searching, let the words of this wonderful hymn dwell in you richly and stir your soul to a deeper and refreshed love of our Saviour. And as we continue to find our way through the brokenness of life, through pandemics, wars and natural disasters, sing loudly of Christ’s saving work. For it is this truth that will anchor and hold us through it all.
Questions for reflection
- As we approach Easter this year, how are your energy levels, spiritually and emotionally?
- As you reflect on the lyrics of ‘Hallelujah! What a Saviour!’ what stands out to you?
- How can you use this hymn to help prepare your heart for Easter?