Christ the Lord is Risen Today (He is Not Dead)

NCC Worship

Barrack Row 3

This may be hard to believe, especially when I tell you I grew up a pastor’s kid, but up until I was about 25, the only hymn I knew was “Amazing Grace”. We just didn’t really sing them in the churches I grew up in. However, when I moved to DC, and started leading worship at NCC, I quickly realized I was missing a massive part of the worship legacy by not knowing them. So I started to dive in to the depths of Hymnland. Every time I led a hymn, it felt like the roof was going to pop off at NCC. The real fun began when I started writing new guitar hooks, choruses, and messing around with arrangements, to update these classic songs into the modern pop world.

There’s rarely a church on the planet that doesn’t do “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” on Easter Sunday. Yet, I couldn’t really find many modern ways of doing the song. So, I took it upon myself to have a little co-write with Charles Wesley and Samuel Arnold. Hopefully, they’re cool with the new spin on the song!

If there’s one thing that our Christian faith leans on, it’s the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The fact that He didn’t stay in that tomb, but rose in glory, is what we truly have our hope in. The chorus I wrote just puts into words what the Easter story is all about. “He is not dead, He is alive. We have this hope in Jesus Christ!” It’s not merely enough to say Jesus isn’t dead. When you say He is alive, there’s a power in your words. There’s a hope that our faith can live in.

Most of the lyrics on this song speak of the powerful work of the cross, and the victory of Christ overcoming the grave. The rock n’ roll nature of the music just supports the message! As a songwriter, that’s a huge thing in writing anything. The music has to match the message. When we lead this at NCC, I love to think how the epic drums, slamming guitars, and driving bass could’ve been a soundtrack to Christ walking triumphantly out of the grave! Isn’t that what worship is? A soundtrack to our lives, a score to our conversations with God!

My wife is really into the Hunger Games books and movies, so just to be a good husband, I am too. Actually, I think I was more pumped to see the latest movie than she was. One of my favorite lines from the film is when President Snow says - “there’s only one thing more powerful than fear. Hope.” And that’s what the Easter story is all about - Hope in Christ.

-Kurtis Parks

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