Aside from music by Hillsong United and a few other songs, my favorite Christian song in recent memory has to be "Christ is Risen" by Matt Maher. It is an incredibly powerful song due in part to the simplicity of its message -- that Christ is alive and has overcome death! In a time where some contemporary Christian music has strayed from central themes from the bible, Maher's song speaks the unadulterated, unchanged truth.
The first time I heard this song was during my church's Easter Sunday worship/celebration. (Methinks "celebration" is the more appropriate term, since that is the significance of the resurrection anyway.) I remember when first singing the chorus...amazing.
As noted above, I really really like the chorus of this song. In particular, it is the lyrics in the form of rhetorical questions that capture my liking for this song. Maher poses two rhetorical questions revolving around the resurrection:
- "Oh Death, where is your sting?"
- "Oh Hell, where is your victory?"
These two questions are special because they mock (arguably) the two things we fear the most in our lives, death and evil. I especially like the fact that Maher belittles these two fears, by contrasting them with what Christ has done on the cross. In other words, Christ had overcome death and opened the doors for us to be reunited with our God -- therefore we should no longer fear neither death nor hell. It reminds us of the resurrection power and what it implies for our lives.
The song also calls all believers to "come awake, come awake, come rise up from the grave." The "grave" described is not a burial ground, but serves as a metaphor for the slumber we are prone to fall into. We drift from our responsibilities as Christians -- to the extent of calling ourselves Christians but having nothing to show for it. Maher reminds us that as we are alive in Christ, we should act like it. We should not be slumbering like the young man who falls from the window during Apostle Paul's sermon (Acts 20:7-12).
Finally, along the same lines of the previous paragraph, the last part of the chorus is a reminder for all the churches out there to "come and stand in the light". What is implied (at least from my perspective) is for churches everywhere to shake off any rust and preach the message of the cross once more. Churches, like individuals, can drift off due a number of factors.