“He Lives Again: An Easter Cantata”
by Gerrit and Amy J. van Dyk
(May be copied and used for noncommercial purposes)
**This full program will run about 50-60 minutes**
**To shorten for use as a Sacrament meeting program: Skip Narration 4 and the Violin/Piano piece, “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee and Skip Narration 6 and “An Easter Medley”**
“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
“His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow…
“And the angel … said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said,” (Matt. 28:1-3, 5-6).
(Pianist begins playing Song 1: “He is Risen” Piano solo and continues through rest of this narration)
PDF of music: Easter Cantata 1 He Is Risen
Of this angelic announcement, President Gordon B. Hinckley declared, “These are the most reassuring words in all of human history. Death–universal and final–had now been conquered…. Never had this occurred before. There had been only death without hope. Now there was life eternal. Only a God could have done this. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ was the great crowning event of His life and mission. It was the capstone of the Atonement. The sacrifice of His life for all mankind was not complete without His coming forth from the grave, with the certainty of the Resurrection for all who have walked the earth.
Of all the victories in the chronicles of humanity, none is so great, none so universal in its effects, none so everlasting in its consequences as the victory of the crucified Lord, who came forth from the tomb that first Easter morning” (“Special Witnesses of Christ,” Ensign, Apr. 2001).
Today we celebrate the great atoning sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, and his glorious resurrection. We rejoice alongside the apostle Paul, when he wrote, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).
This Easter morning, nearly 2,000 years after this sacred and holy event, we join in word and song . We will praise our God for the matchless gift of His Son, His perfect example, His life and teachings, His Atonement and Resurrection.
We begin with a tribute to Christ and his mortal ministry. He taught eternal truths that still instruct us today. He healed the sick. He cured the blind. He cleansed the leper. He raised the dead. He forgave the sinner. One day, early in his ministry, the Master rose in the middle of his hometown synagogue and read out of the prophecies of Isaiah. The Gospel of Luke records, “And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
“To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
“And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
“And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
“And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth” (Luke 4: 14-22)
Song 2: “They Call Him Savior” Vocal Solo
Throughout His life, the Master beckoned to all who came to him, “Come, follow me.” Today we all likewise are invited to come unto Him, and He offers a promise to any who choose to follow Him and His gospel. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” (Matt. 11: 28-30).
Song 3: “Come Unto Jesus” SATB and Piano (Full Choir if possible)
PDF of Music: Easter Cantata 3 Come Unto Jesus SATB
Amid the vicissitudes of life, we each of us face the trials, triumphs, victories and tragedies of mortality. Jesus, through His example and teachings, helps us as we navigate these troubled times.
“Peace I leave with you,” the Savior taught, “my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” (John 14: 27).
Song 4: “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee” for Violin and Piano
PDF of Music for Violin: Easter Cantata 4 Violin Part
The Savior’s life led to that moment in the Garden where He suffered for all mankind’s sins, illnesses, and infirmities. We learn from Luke, “And [Jesus] came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
“And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” (Luke 22: 39-44)
The Book of Mormon prophet, Alma the Younger, knew first-hand the power of the Lord’s Atoning Sacrifice to heal and to forgive. He taught, “And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities,” (Alma 7:11-12).
We now invite the congregation to stand and sing with the choir all three verses of Hymn #193, “I Stand All Amazed.”
Song 5: Choir and congregation hymn #193: “I Stand All Amazed” together
“Then led they Jesus … unto the hall of judgment …
“Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall … and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
“… Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Song 6: “An Easter Medley” SATB and Piano, Full Choir if possible
On that blessed Easter morn, the Risen Lord visited Mary and later his disciples. He taught them for several days before again ascending into heaven. The angels promised them and they promise us today, that He will one day return to “rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords.” (The Living Christ). “And when [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1: 9-11).
Song 7: “The Sun in Glory Rose That Day” SATB and Piano, Full Choir if possible
PDF of music for flute: Easter Cantata 7 Flute Part
The Apostle Paul taught, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15: 20-22). Because of Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection, we all will live again, to rejoice with our friends and loved ones who have gone before.
We invite the congregation to close this meeting and to sing verses 1, 2, and 4 of Hymn #136 “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” with us.
We join together with Job, who testified, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
“And … in my flesh shall I see God,” (Job 19: 25-26).
Song 8 (Closing Hymn if used in a Sacrament meeting): Choir and Congregation sing Hymn #136 “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” together.