(# 84), a Hymn for Easter Week, 6 April 2021 Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord), the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
Click on Link below to listen to tune:
“ Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the LORD, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day.” (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
(1 Samuel 14:33)
“And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.”
This thoughtful little hymn was composed by Marion Franklin Ham (1867-1956). Ham began his ministry in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and wrote this hymn in 1936. The author’s first choice title was “Look Up” to the tune, Old Winchester; however, the present tune, New England, was written for the hymn by T. Tertius Noble in 1941 and is the tune presented in our Hymnal.
O WHO SHALL ROLL AWAY THE STONE
“O WHO shall roll away the stone,”
The faithful women said;
“The heavy stone that seals the tomb,
And shuts us from the dead?”
But looking up, at dawn, they saw
The great stone rolled away,
And from the empty tomb a light
More dazzling than the day.
Look up, O doubting soul, look up!
Eyes fixed upon the earth
Can never see the life that finds
In death its glorious birth.
Look up! and ever looking up,
Thine eyes shall clearly see
The tombs of earth filled with the light
“O WHO shall roll away the stone,” The faithful women said; “The heavy stone that seals the tomb, And shuts us from the dead?” Mary Magdalene preceded the other women to the tomb (John 20:1)while it was yet dark perhaps outpacing the others in her anxiety. The three women had come to anoint a dead body, and were shocked and afraid to see the great stone blocking the door removed. They had wondered how they might remove the stone, but, now, they were surprised and fearful. They fears grew in intensity when they saw the young man dressed in white sitting in the tomb. The heavy Stone was put in place by worldly men, but rolled away by the mighty Angel. It was for the sins of man that Christ was dead and buried; but it took the powers of heavy to remove the great Stone from the door of the tomb affirming the approval of Heaven. Matthew Henry provides an excellent explanation for the Stone and its removal:
Why Did an Angel Roll Away the Stone? Matthew Henry
“The angels frequently attended our Lord Jesus: at His birth, in His temptation, in His agony. But upon the cross we find no angel attending him. When His Father forsook Him, the angels withdrew from Him, but now that He is resuming the glory he had before the foundation of the world, the angels of God worship him.
“The angel came, rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone Himself by His own power, but He chose to have it done by an angel to signify that having undertaken to make satisfaction for our sin, He did not break prison, but had a fair and legal discharge, obtained from heaven. He did not break prison, but an officer was sent on purpose to roll away the stone and open the prison door, which would never have been done if He had not made a full satisfaction.
“But being delivered for our offences, He was raised again for our justification. He died to pay our debt, and rose again to gain our acquittal. The stone of our sins was rolled to the door of the grave of our Lord Jesus (and we find the rolling of a great stone to signify the contracting of guilt – 1 Samuel 14:33, but to demonstrate that divine justice was satisfied, an angel was commissioned to roll back the stone. The angel did not raise Him from the dead, any more than those that took away the stone from Lazarus’s grave raised him, but by this he intimated the consent of Heaven to Christ’s release, and the joy of Heaven in it.”
But looking up, at dawn, they saw The great stone rolled away, And from the empty tomb a light More dazzling than the day. Though human hands had sealed the tomb, it was God who opened it. No man can take credit for any aspect of the glorious resurrection. They saw the dazzling attire of the Angels. Why were they surprised to find the tomb empty when the Lord had told them precisely of His resurrection? “4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words.” Luke 24:4-8 Why are we ever surprised at the precise fulfillment of God’s Word when we have been told of it many times? There must have remained a vestige of ambient light which accompanied the resurrection from death of the Light of the World.
Look up, O doubting soul, look up! Eyes fixed upon the earth Can never see the life that finds In death its glorious birth. Why do we focus on the worldly and tawdry stones of earth when there is so great a beauty to be seen on high – LOOK UP!. As Jesus stood without the tomb of Lazarus at Bethany, He, too, looked up to rally the powers of Heaven over death: “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” John 11:41-43 Life comes from on high, the grave belongs to the earthy.
Look up! and ever looking up, Thine eyes shall clearly see The tombs of earth filled with the light
Of immortality. Again, we have the divine counsel to LOOK UP from whence our help comes: “ I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2 It is the high ground that is the safe place, not the swamps and cesspools of the world. All Light comes from above – the Sun, Moon, Stars, and their Maker, the Father of Lights. The earth does not generate the energy that maintains her spin in orbit around the Sun – it is the gravitational forcefield of the Sun and its resplendent energy that maintains the equilibrium of the orbiting planets and is the energy source for all their energy. God is our Sun of Righteousness in Christ Jesus. A soul whose orbit is maintained by God will travel in the Way He has commanded and will be bathed in the radiant energy of His love. If we allow any earthly object to come between us and our Lord Jesus Christ, our reflected light will be darkened. Therefore, we keep our face always looking up and absorbing life and love from Heaven’s Sovereign.
“Prenez en Gré”
In Christ Alone during EPIPHANY
† Jerry L. Ogles, D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
Let us carefully observe how little good they do who attempt to mix up evangelical preaching and a ritual ceremony. Little, did I say? – they do no good at all! The world is never won by trimming and compromising, by facing both ways, and trying to please all. The cross of Christ is never made more acceptable by sawing off its corners, or by polishing, varnishing, and adorning it. Processions and banners, and flowers, and crosses, and excessive quantity of music, and elaborate services, and beautiful vestments may please children and weak-minded people. But they never helped forward heart-conversion and heart-sanctification, and they never will. Bishop J. C. Ryle, First Bishop of Liverpool, U.K.
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”