For most of my time in China, I attended local Three-self churches in the cities where I lived. Especially as my language improved and I could understand what was going on, I particularly enjoyed going to church on Easter Sunday. To sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” with hundreds of Chinese brothers and sisters was a tiny glimpse of heaven.
The hymnal used in all registered churches in China is called the The New Hymnal, published by the national CCC/TSPM in Shanghai. Most of the hymns are translated, so are familiar to those of us who grew up in the church prior to the advent of contemporary worship music.
Easter services always included the singing of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” (大启 乐园歌) and “Christ Arose” (主复活歌). While I love those two great hymns of the faith, I especially enjoyed singing a hymn composed by Wen-hao Cai in 1982, titled in English as “In the Mist of Early Morn.” In Chinese it is 复活喜讯歌 (fu huo xi xun ge). A more literal translation would be something like “Joyful News of the Resurrection.” If you happen to have a copy of The New Hymnal, it is number 110.
Here are the lyrics, as translated by Grace Shang-kuan Kuo in 1994:
In the midst of early morn, hurriedly the women moved;
Bringing spices for the Lord, found the empty tomb.
Suddenly he called, pleasantly appeared.
To the disciples they hastened, happily proclaimed . . .
Jesus Christ is risen, Jesus Christ is risen,
Mighty power that made him rise again, fills me, changes my life.
In the silence of the room, sadly his disciples met;
By the cross they were perplexed, doubted power of God.
Soon the Lord appeared, let them touch his wounds.
Doubts and fears all disappeared, joy as filled their hearts.
Jesus often did appear, followers of him were blessed;
Caused their faith to leap by folds, love increased in depth,
Caring for his sheep, suffering for his sake.
Resurrection living waters, flow forevermore.
Here’s the song in characters, with Chinese numbered musical notations.
The bi-lingual version of The New Hymnal is available from Amazon.
Finally, in case you want to actually hear the tune, here is a recording of the song, played by my mother who will turn 92 the day after Easter!
On behalf of the entire ChinaSource Team, may you and your family experience the joy of the resurrection this Easter.
He Is Risen!
All images courtesy of Joann Pittman.
Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio
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