by Kevin Burton
Easter songs are not nearly as ubiquitous as Christmas songs. But here’s a shoutout for an absolute gem of a song associated with Easter.
The Contemporary Christian group 2nd Chapter of Acts recorded Easter Song in 1974. It was written by band member Annie Herring, composed in three-quarter or waltz time.
To clarify, Wikipedia says Herring wrote the song. Herring herself says God did.
“I don’t write songs, I receive songs,” Herring said in an interview I found on You Tube.
“Easter Song was one of those that just came out,” Herring said, quoted on the website 2ndchapterofacts.com. “At first I didn’t think it was much of a song. I loved it but I didn’t think it was a song for us.”
Herring thought it was a song best suited for a choir. “I even said to the Lord, ‘Oh Father that sounds like a song a lot of people should sing,’” she said.
Herring played the song for friend Jimmy Owens who said “You don’t want to give that song away to anybody you need to record it!”
It went through some changes before it became the version now familiar to millions.
“David (Kemper) sat down and put a different drum pattern to the song, taking it out of the choir realm where Herring first heard it and putting into a lilting rhythm that not only 2nd Chapter could sing, but the whole world could sing,” reads the website.
“Family friend Michael Omartian added the lively keyboard track that made the song unforgettable.”
“Now that’s what Christian music is supposed to sound like,” said Myrrh Records owner Billy Ray Hearn, upon hearing it for the first time.
The song is only two minutes and 20 seconds long, so I almost always play it more than once. One spin is just not enough.
In terms of vocal performance and tight harmonies, 2nd Chapter takes a back seat to no band in any genre. Easter Song was released on the band’s debut album “With Footnotes” and is one of the most beloved songs in Christian music
“The opening notes to ‘Easter Song’ just may be the single most recognizable intro in contemporary Christian music,” said Tori Taff of CCM Magazine.
From there the lyrics kick in with “Hear the bells ringing they’re singing that we can be born again…”
The lyrics were plucked from the Biblical accounts in Matthew and Mark of the resurrection of Jesus. The Christmas story is more widely known, but the resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter, is the indispensable element of Christianity.
Without it, mankind would be doomed. Since Jesus rose from the dead, we can be born again.
Here is the account of the resurrection from Matthew 28: 1-7, NASB.
“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it.
“And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook from fear of him and became like dead men.”
“And the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see Him; behold, I have told you.’”
“Joy to the world, He is risen, hallelujah,” is part of the chorus to Easter Song.
Technically the tomb wasn’t absolutely empty that first Easter Sunday. There were some grave clothes there, left behind. They were no longer needed. Grave clothes are for the dead. Jesus was then and is now alive!