With Easter quickly approaching, observing Lent in a meaningful, self-denying way becomes more and more of a struggle. The food restrictions and social media fasts are now more tempting than ever—to eat just one bite of chocolate, take one sip of coffee, or click on one notification from Instagram. For me, having given up Instagram, the biggest struggle has been not clicking on those little red notifications. I struggle to push away the promise of distraction and entertainment from the posts of my friends and family. To be honest, I have given up and re-fasted several times. Why is it a struggle to give up something so simple?
In these moments of struggle, I want to remember the truth we find in Hebrews 12:3-4; Jesus suffered far greater than I. As I wrestle to not look at the stories of my friends’ lives condensed into ten second clips, I’m reminded of all that Jesus endured: the weight of abandonment, hatred, sin, and physical, mental and emotional torment—all so I could live in the freedom of the gospel. His sacrifice has allowed me to live with a joy, a hope, and a confidence that he is alive, and I get to join in the fullness of his joy soon.
Admittedly, this is not my first thought when I reach for my phone to check Instagram for the hundredth time. It’s in moments like these, when I forget my Savior, that it’s helpful to remember songs that rehearse the gospel. They talk about Christ’s resurrection—that event we will soon celebrate—in a way that stirs and strengthens my heart in anticipation. I hope these songs can do for you what they’ve done for me: take my focus from myself, and place it on my Savior, who bled and died for me, but did not stay dead! And just like my Savior, I am being made alive, having been resurrected with him in salvation day by day (2 Cor. 4:14).
This song, put out by Elevation Worship in 2016, has been an anthem in my life. It portrays the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the implication of our own victory so well in this song. “Resurrecting” reminds us of Christ’s journey to the cross, and points our gaze to what Jesus is doing for us, even now, by resurrecting us day by day as we love others, repent of sin, and seek to shape our lives to live like Jesus.
2. “In Christ Alone”
This classic song was written in 2001 by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. “In Christ Alone” is a beautiful journey that starts with a reflection of our hope in Christ, journeying then to our need for saving, and ending with the resurrection and the elimination of our fear of death. The third verse always gets me: “As he stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, for I am his and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ!” What a promise, and what a thing to celebrate this Easter!
3. “O Praise the Name”
Many modern worship songs, and even a lot of hymns, gloss over the suffering of Christ. This song paints a unique picture of Christ on his way to Calvary. It acknowledges his title of Messiah even before he conquers death, which I think is significant. We join in with the declaration of our eternity. When Christ returns in robes of white, we will rise with our Savior to praise the name of the Lord our God forevermore!
4. “Revelation Song“
Kari Jobe came onto the worship radar for most of the country in 2009 with this song written by Jennie Riddle. This song is different from any others on this list because it is extremely vertically focused. When I think of the resurrection, I can get so wrapped up in what it did for me and what it means for me, that I lose sight of the truth that the resurrection is for the whole church. We enter this promise that one day we will stand before the throne with the Church through generations, singing the heavenly song of “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). That image alone is enough to get me through hard times and to make good times even sweeter.
5. “Arise My Love“
A list of songs about the resurrection couldn’t be complete without the inclusion of Newsong’s “Arise My Love.” This song has been the anthem of the Christian music tour Winter Jam for as long as I can remember, and every time I hear it, I am struck by the beautiful story it tells. Newsong’s southern gospel storytelling builds to a triumphant declaration in which God tells his Son to arise. It gives us a unique insight into what it could have been like to be at the grave site on resurrection day.
Rehearsing Truth Throug Songs About the Resurrection
This Easter, I hope that the truths declared by these songs will remind us that, as believers, we join with Christ in conquering the grave, that our fear of death no longer has a hold on us, and that we have assurance of eternal communion with God, praising him with all the church from generations passed. These are the truths I hope to remember every morning, while the habit of checking my phone becomes less, and my habit of remembering Christ and the hope we have in him becomes more. That is a habit that will shape how I live, and how I love people this Easter, this year, and for the rest of my life.