Behind the Hymn: Hallelujah! Christ is Risen

Happy Easter!  Today we are taking a look at a lesser known Easter hymn.

Christopher Wordsworth was the nephew of noted poet, William Wordsworth.

Christopher Wordsworth

Christopher was born on October 30, 1807. Both he and his brother, Charles, were distinguished athletes while in school.

In both 1827 and 1828, he won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for poetry.

He became an Anglican priest and by 1844 was appointed canon of Westminster Abbey. He was there for six years, before moving to a rural church. Within two decades, he was appointed a bishop.

He began to sense a need for an Easter hymn that he felt “expressed a proper biblical view of the day”. He did not approve of songs that were personal testimony songs, such as Amazing Grace. He preferred songs based on passages of scripture.

James McGranahan

Wordsworth turned to Matthew 28:6 which speaks of Jesus not being there but risen. He wrote a hymn he felt expressed the true biblical view.

The song was matched with a very formal tune. Not until the mid-19th Century, was the song published. The song never gained the popularity of those he longed to replace.

James McGranahan, an evangelistic singer and songwriter, was introduced to Hallelujah! Christ is Risen during his travels. He was inspired by the song, but felt the original tune held no real passion and was too still.

He wrote a new melody and arranged the song for congregational singing.

On introduced the song to the world and the song began to spread in popularity and as a congregational standard, especially in England.

By McGranahan’s 1907 death, his version of the hymn was widely accepted.



The songwriter desired a Biblical correct view of the Resurrection inspiring Christ is Risen! Hallelujah #songstory #HappyEaster #HappyResurrectionDay Click To Tweet


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