A Gradient of Easter Hymns
Apart from the "non-seasonal" season of Ordinary Time, Eastertide is the longest season in the liturgical year.
Its seven full weeks offer a challenge to music directors, especially in programming hymns thoughout the season, both in keeping the Easter theme going through 50 days and in not getting tedious or overly repetitive.
Parallel this with Christmastide, the shortest season at a mere 2-3 weeks, with a multitude of familiar hymns and carols.
So how do we plan Eastertide.
Certainly by singing seasonal music throughout.
I said in another article:
Celebrate the entire season with festive rejoicing, with exuberant song, and, yes, with Easter hymns.
There is technically nothing wrong with singing "Jesus Christ Is Ris'n Today" on Pentecost — it is a day within the Easter Season, and it commemorates the fulfillment of the Easter event.
In theory that's correct, but practically speaking — it may not work.
There is a certain progression to Eastertide, beginning with the Exodus at the Vigil and the Resurrection event on Easter Sunday, through the various appearances of the Risen Lord during Easter Week.
We always hear of Thomas' incredulity on 2 Easter, Emmaus and the post-Resurrection meals on 3 Easter, Good Shepherd on 4 Easter, followed by the mystic passages from Saint John, the Ascension, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and finally the fulfillment of that Gift.
Couldn't our hymns have a similar progression?
Here's my casual interpretation of a Gradient of Easter Hymns.
Some of it is clearly understandable: "Through the Red Sea Brought at Last" at the very beginning of the season (Easter Vigil) and "Come, Holy Ghost" at the very end.
Other choices are more arbitary, and the order can certainly be altered.
For what it's worth, Hymns for the Great Fifty Days:
- Through the Red Sea Brought At Last
- Come and Let Us Drink of That New River
- Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
- That Easter Day with Joy Was Bright
- Ye Sons and Daughters, Let Us Sing
- All You on Earth
- Christ Is Alive
- Sing We Triumphant Hymns of Praise
- Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands
- Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain
- Good Christian Men, Rejoice and Sing
- This Is the Lord's Day (Kathleen Pluth) from Hymns for the Liturgical Year
- This Is the Day
- Be Joyful, Mary, Heavenly Queen
- Hail, O Once Despised Jesus
- At the Lamb's High Feast
- My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
- The King of Love My Shepherd Is
- The Living God My Shepherd Is
- Now the Green Blade Rises
- He Is Risen
- This Is the Feast of Victory
- Hail Thee, Festival Day
- Alleluia! Sing to Jesus
- God Is My Strong Salvation
- Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
- This Joyful Eastertide
- A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing
- All Nations Clap Your Hands
- Ascend Your Throne, O Righteous One (Kathleen Pluth) from Hymns for the Liturgical Year
- Go Make of All Disciples
- God of Gods, We Sound His Praises
- Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise
- Look, O Look, the Sight Is Glorious
- Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor
- Lord, You Gave the Great Commission
- Praise Him As He Mounts the Skies
- Rejoice, Angelic Choirs
- See the Conqueror Mounts in Triumph
- Come, Creator Spirit
- Come Down, O Love Divine
- Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest
- Come, Holy Spirit, As a Fire (Kathleen Pluth) from Hymns for the Liturgical Year
- O Holy Spirit, By Whose Breath
- Send Forth from the Heaven
- Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayer
- Come, Holy Ghost, Creator Blest
- Fire of God, Undying Flame
- Holy Spirit, Truth Divine
- Joy! Because the Circling Year