I totally get why we celebrate and sing songs about Easter, i.e. the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, but shouldn’t we be doing that all of the time? If so, then why do we “save” certain songs for Easter? Do church songwriters actually write “day specific” songs?
As a songwriter myself, I know that inspiration is at the core of this creative process. Songs are written with a purpose; they’re derived from specific experiences or for a particular cause.
Church songs are no different. In most cases, church songs are written to restate truths found in the Bible. Some songwriters simply add music and vocal melodies to Bible verses (like Forever, You Are Good, Revelation Song, etc.). Others focus on specific stories as told in the Bible (like How Deep The Father’s Love for Us, Jesus Messiah, etc.) or rejoice in the defined attributes and promises of God (like This Is Amazing Grace, Cornerstone, Good Good Father, etc.). Church songs are even used as a call to worship and pray (like 10,000 Reasons, Lord I Need You, Blessed Be Your Name, etc.).
There are certain church songs that seem to be released during certain times of the year, such as Easter. I, and I’m sure many other worship leaders, do our best to pay attention to these releases so as to stay current with our song selections.
Elevation Worship released Resurrecting just in time for me to add it to our past Easter set list. I remember listening to the song and thinking, “Wow! This is perfect! It literally outlines what we’re celebrating (the life, death and resurrection of Jesus) to a t! It even has the word resurrecting in the lyrics!” I sent the song out to our worship band and started teaching it to our congregation in the weeks leading up to Easter. On Easter weekend, we all knew the song, word for word, so we sang our hearts out! It really enhanced our worship experience and bonded us in a powerful way.
Following Easter, up until a little while ago, I wrestled with how to keep Resurrecting and the other “Easter songs” as a part of our regular worship experiences. In my mind, these songs were most impactful and beneficial during Easter weekend. When could I sing them again?
For a while I found Communion Sunday to be the answer. Communion Sunday is like a mini-Easter of sorts. We remember and celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus by taking the elements (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) so “Easter songs” fit.
Then it hit me; it being a soft yet firm slap from the Holy Spirit. “Easter songs” don’t exist.
Joel Houston said regarding Hillsong Worship’s “Easter single”, Grace to Grace, “We’re here for a journey. It’s a process that involves taking up our cross and denying ourselves, following Him daily. It’s a process that involves humility and surrender time and time again….” He hit the nail right on the head; we were made to journey with God (Micah 6:8). Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross does not just affect us on Easter, but rather on every day of our lives. Jesus has justified, redeemed and claimed us forever (Romans 8:31-39, Galatians 2:20, 1 Peter 3:18). I’ve found the best way to continually live out our new life in Him is by keeping “Easter” on my mind (Colossians 3:1-4).
I no longer stay away from the Top 100 Songs for Easter during the year. I want to keep the cross on my mind and heart, as well as on those in my church family. I wager that this is was what Elevation Church and other songwriters originally intended when they created these “Easter songs.” These songs are meant to continue celebration of what Jesus has done for us.