What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may increase? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, so we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
LOOK: The Man and the Cross by Rufino Tamayo
LISTEN: “In Christ We Live” by John L. Bell, 1996 | CCLI #5586758 [purchase sheet music]
>> Led by Nancy Boldt McLaren, 2008:
Part 1: In Christ we live And in Christ we die And in Christ we rise up again Let heaven rejoice And let earth be glad And sing, “Alleluia, amen!”
Part 2: In Christ We live In Christ we rise again Let heaven Rejoice And sing, “Amen!”
>> Recorded by the Elnora Bible Institute Choir, 2020:
Part 1: In Christ We live And die and rise again Let heaven Be glad And sing, “Amen, amen!”
Part 2: In Christ we live And in Christ we die And in Christ we rise up again Let heaven be glad And let earth rejoice And sing, “Alleluia, amen!”
This buoyant song in two-part polyphony was written by John Bell of the Iona Community, an international, ecumenical Christian movement working for justice and peace, the rebuilding of community, and the renewal of worship. The community was founded in Glasgow in 1938, and its music arm is regarded in the UK as one of the most vibrant sources of new congregational music.
Bell, a Church of Scotland minister, worked for the Iona Community for over forty years before retiring from his position as resource worker last November, though he continues to be involved as a member. He leads workshops on liturgy, music, spirituality, and social justice; has written and edited song collections, sermon collections, and a wide range of liturgical materials as part of the Wild Goose Resource Group he founded with the late Graham Maule; and contributes regularly to the annual Greenbelt festival in England. Much of his work has been in convincing people they can sing, regardless of their ability to read music, and encouraging more congregational participation in music making.
The video above shows a session from a Music That Makes Community gathering at St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City in April 2008, led by Connecticut pastor Nancy Boldt McLaren. I love the enthusiasm of the group who is learning this song for the first time! The Spotify link is to a recording by a choir from Elnora Bible Institute in Indiana, which sings the words as published (whereas McLaren makes a few small tweaks).
This concludes the Easter Octave—but keep celebrating! Easter is a fifty-day season that culminates with the feast of Pentecost on May 28. I’ll be releasing a brand-new Pentecost playlist on Spotify next month, but until then, check out the one for Eastertide, which includes today’s featured song.