The angel told Mary Magdalene that first Easter morning, “ Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!” One of the most famous Easter hymns written in 1739 by Charles Wesley was “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”
Charles Wesley wrote between 6,500 and 10,000 hymns!!! In 1738 Charles and his brother both had conversion experiences that deeply impacted the course of their lives. Charles had been ordained in the Church of England but had a “heart-warming” experience at Aldersgate Hall, an old iron foundry converted into a church. This experience seems to have ignited and jettisoned his musical talents. Charles, his father, his son and his grandson were all talented musicians.
Charles wrote this hymn for the opening of Aldersgate Hall in 1939. Charles had a gift for making Christ real and three dimensional. He gave converts something they could identify with, grasp and embrace and possibly die for at that time.
Methodism was founded by the Wesley brothers but Charles always was faithful to the Church of England. They believed, “the resurrection assures us of God’s tomorrow.” That hope allows us to deal with the trials and tribulations of today. Mary Magdalene went to the cave expecting to anoint the body of her dead friend who had not made the Jews great again. Instead she met angels who gave her hope and purpose. As we finish this first Easter siting of the risen Christ and we finish the first week of Easter, may we listen to the words of Charles Wesley’s song and feel the hope of the resurrection.