After posting part of the lyrics to the Paschal Troparion this morning, I discovered that these “ancient Christian” lyrics from the East have been put to a new setting by a “contemporary Christian” from the West. (Disclaimer: I generally detest “contemporary Christian” music, not least because the term “contemporary” implies that “ancient”/”traditional”/non-21st century music has lost its voice.)
I still much prefer the Orthodox version (especially the tradition of singing the refrain in as many languages as the congregation can muster — what a vision of the kingdom of God!), especially to the Byzantine Tone 5, which is what I heard in my first Orthodox Easter Vigil:
Paschal Troparion, Byzantine Tone 5, Antiochian Orthodox Church
(the link takes you to a beautiful mp3 setting that you can download)
The lyrics are these:
Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered;
let those who hate Him flee from before His face.
As smoke vanishes, so let them vanish;
as wax melteth before the fire.
So shall sinners perish before the face of God;
but let the righteous be glad.
This is the day which the Lord hath made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
I even like the violent imagery: trampling, scattering, fleeing, vanishing! That is VERY unusual for me. But I like knowing that the portions in each of us that are opposed to God will be blown away like smoke — that the death that faces each of us is vanquished. (Cue stomping on the ground as we do when hearing the word “death” in St. John Chrysostom’s paschal homily).
But for those of you who prefer bells/piano/guitars/drums, here’s a Western Protestant version by Matt Maher:
Both the East and the West are celebrating Easter today, so sing in harmony with all of our brothers and sisters from around the world!
And now I am off to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” at a good ol’ United Methodist Church…