Goodnight everyone, and have a weekend of exultation!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy!

“For the secular world, Easter is about new clothes, hidden eggs, and bunnies. But to those that really understand all that was accomplished on that first Easter morning, this is the greatest day in all of history.”
King’s Kid Stuff

This week, your musical Easter card. Let’s get started.

Headed to a religious service Sunday? There’s a 99% chance you’ll hear this.

It’s believed the above hymn originated in Germany sometime in the 14th century. Other verses:

2 Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
unto Christ, our heav’nly King, Alleluia!
who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

3 But the pains which he endured, Alleluia!
our salvation have procured; Alleluia!
now above the sky he’s King, Alleluia!
where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

4 Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
praise eternal as his love; Alleluia!
praise him, all ye heav’nly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Alleluia!

“The significance of Easter is Jesus Christ’s triumph over death. His resurrection means the eternal life that is granted to all who believe in Him. The purpose of Easter also means the full confirmation of all that Jesus taught and preached during His three-year ministry. He conquered death and redeemed us from sin.”
Christianity Today

In 1969 The Edwin Hawkins Singers released “Oh Happy Day” that peaked at #4.

Oh happy day (Oh happy day)
Oh happy day (Oh happy day)
When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed)
Oh when he washed (When Jesus washed)
When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed)
He washed my sins away (Oh happy day)

This artist (whose middle name is Delight) is a record producer, musician, songwriter, composer, arranger, and film and television producer. His career spans 70 years.

Many, many years ago the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced their list of the top 365 “Songs Of The Century.”

“Oh Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers was #63. BTW, topping the list was “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at America magazine once wrote:

In one of Jesus’ “Seven Last Words” — that is, the last phrases he uttered from the cross on Good Friday — he promises “paradise” to the person often called the “Good Thief.”

In the Gospel of Luke, one of the two thieves crucified besides Jesus says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus replies, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

At the Last Supper, Jesus tells his disciples, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions. I am going to prepare a place for you.”

There will always be a great curiosity about and fascination with what Heaven is really like.

Former investigative reporter and the best-selling Christian non-fiction writer Lee Strobel released a documentary film in theaters last week, “The Case for Heaven” that focuses on documented cases of individuals whose near-death experiences allowed them to glimpse heaven, before returning to consciousness.

Consider this from Revelation 21:21:

“The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”

And then there’s a musical explanation from Elvis…

Elvis’ 1967 album that included “So High” won a Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance.

Now we get real serious.

After sundown on Friday, the day Jesus was crucified, the chief priests and Pharisees visited Pontius Pilate. They asked Pilate for a guard for Jesus’ tomb. They recalled Jesus stating that He would rise again in three days and wanted to prevent Christ from rising from the grave.

Chris Mueller, a youth minister from Murrieta, California writes:

For those who loved Jesus, the tomb would not have ended the horror. The shockwaves of Christ’s brutal execution would have continued to pummel them.

Have you ever stopped to ponder what Holy Saturday must have been like for those who loved Jesus? I can imagine the apostles must have spent Holy Saturday in a daze.

Mary, Jesus’ Mother, must have ached on Holy Saturday as well. Mary, ever faithful and trusting in the Lord, would not have doubted that, ultimately, God would fulfill his promise. That does not mean she would have been free from the pain of loss. She witnessed Jesus’ execution. She stood at the foot of the Cross.

The pain of Holy Saturday must have been almost unbearable. And yet, despite it, God was not done.

Donnie Sumner is the nephew of the late J. D. Sumner, nationally acclaimed as the “world’s lowest bass singer.” Both Donnie and J. D. were closely associated with Elvis on both his stage appearances and his recordings.

In 1965 Donnie became the lead vocalist and arranger for J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and continued in this position for nearly eight years. In 1970, while with the Stamps, Donnie received the Gospel Music Association’s prestigious Dove Award  for “Gospel Song of the Year” with his composition, “The Night Before Easter.”

The hymn is performed here by the Gaither Vocal Band.

As we know, the Roman guards were inadequate to prevent the resurrection, and the women who returned to the tomb Sunday morning found it empty.

“For death could not hold their King.”

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a glorious Easter.

Our closing selection isn’t an Easter song per se. But it’s a traditional Gospel tune about Jesus and prayer and features wonderful vocal harmony onstage. One of the singers is well-known in the Gospel musical family. Watch for Mark Lowry. It’ll be real easy cuz he’s hard to miss.

Lowry’s biggest claim to fame? He wrote “Mary Did You Know?” after his pastor asked him to write a Christmas musical for their church.

Once again, the Gaither Vocal Band.

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