Easter, Day 8: In Christ We Live

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.

—Romans 6:1–11

LOOK: The Man and the Cross by Rufino Tamayo

Tamayo, Rufino_Man and the Cross
Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899–1991), The Man and the Cross, 1975. Oil on canvas, 130 × 97 cm. Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Vatican Museums.

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.

Roundup: Modern Bible illumination; hula; First Nations baptism design; father-daughter waltz; Tamayo and Parker

ESV Illuminated Bible spread

NEW BOOK: ESV Illuminated Bible (2017): In October Crossway released a new Bible illuminated by Seattle-based designer and lettering artist Dana Tanamachi. Printed in two-color (the illuminations are in gold ink), this volume contains one full-page illustration, custom icon, and illuminated drop cap for each book of the Bible, plus hundreds of hand-lettered Bible verses throughout the margins. There are no human figures in any of the illuminations; most consist of flora and fauna—olives, figs, pomegranates, peacocks, lions, lilies, deer, cedar, and so on—derived from the given book. Be sure to check out the book-opener illustration index, and the short video below, in which Tanamachi introduces herself, talks through her process, and explains some of her artistic choices:

“God loves beauty, so we wanted to honor him through this project with something that was beautiful,” says Josh Dennis, Crossway’s senior vice president of creative. “For this edition we really want people to engage with it, so there’s a lot of negative space and wide margins for people to write in it and to do their own Bible journaling.”

This publication comes six years after the release of Makoto Fujimura’s Four Holy Gospels, another illumination project. Fujimura’s is an oversize book with a $150 price point, containing original abstract paintings reproduced in full color alongside the first four books of the New Testament. By contrast, the ESV Illuminated Bible is more wieldy—it has a 6½ × 9 trim size—and less costly ($45), and it contains all sixty-six books. The aesthetic is also much different, as Tanamachi’s influences include art nouveau, the arts and crafts movement, and designers like William Morris and Koloman Moser. [HT: David Taylor]

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CHRISTIAN HULA: “‘O ‘Oe ‘Io” (You Are God): Though reduced to tourist entertainment in some places, Hawaiian hula dancing, in its traditional context, is a form of teaching and worship. Because of its associations with polytheism, the early missionaries denounced it as sinful. Over the last half-century or so, however, most missionaries have changed their stance toward this and other traditional forms of artistic expression—not only in Hawaii, but in whatever their host culture—seeing how such forms can offer more authentic ways for the people to connect to and worship the Christian God.

In the video below, Moani Sitch and ‘Anela Gueco perform a hula noho (“seated hula”) at the 2006 Urbana student missions conference sponsored by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. It’s to the Christian hymn “‘O ‘Oe ‘Io” (You Are God), originally written in Maori by Luke Kaa Morgan but translated into Hawaiian by Moses Kaho‘okele Crabbe. The sacred name for Creator God—‘Io—is the same in both languages. The lyrics are below. [HT: Global Christian Worship]

‘O ‘oe ‘Io, e makuna lani (You are God, Heavenly Father)
‘O ‘oe ‘Io, ka waiola (You are God, the Living Water)
‘O ‘oe ‘Io, e kumu ola (You are God, the Source of Life)
Ka mea hana i na mea apau (The one who has made all things)
E ku‘u Haku (My Lord)
Ka mauna ki‘eki‘e (Who is the Highest Mountain)
‘O ‘oe ‘Io (You are God)

For a fantastic religious history of Hawaii, see this PDF booklet published by Aloha Ke Akua (“God Is Love”) Ministries. Among the many things I learned is that Hawaiians regard the arrival of Christian missionaries as the fulfillment of their elders’ prophecies that the one true God would one day return to the islands.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: “Jesus as Chief: ‘Baptism Mural’ by Tony Hunt”: First Nations artist Tony Hunt Sr. died last month, just two months after his son Tony Hunt Jr., also a renowned carver. Read about Hunt Sr.’s inculturated serigraph of Christ’s baptism at my old blog, The Jesus Question—part of a seven-part series I did on Christian art of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Based on a carved and painted design he made for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, it shows John the Baptist as a Kwakwaka’wakw shaman in Native dress and with ceremonial rattle, installing Jesus as chief. The Father is manifest as Sun and the Spirit as Thunderbird.   Continue reading “Roundup: Modern Bible illumination; hula; First Nations baptism design; father-daughter waltz; Tamayo and Parker”