THE STRIFE IS O’ER
Anonymous Latin hymn from approximately 1605
English translation by Francis Pott, 1832–1909
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55, 56, 57)
The thrilling news from the empty tomb is that life has triumphed over death! This is a message that dispels our fears and gives us the sure hope that because Christ lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). Alleluia!
This inspiring Easter hymn first appeared anonymously in a Jesuit collection, Symphonia Sirenum, published in Cologne, Germany, in 1695. It was more than 150 years after its writing, however, before this hymn was used by English-speaking churches. In 1859 the translation was made by Francis Pott, an Anglican minister. The music is an adaptation from the “Gloria Patri,” published in 1591 by Palestrina, the great 16th century Catholic composer and director of the performing choir at St. Peter’s church in the Vatican. This musical arrangement was made by Dr. William H. Monk for inclusion in the well-known Anglican hymnal Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861 edition. In making this musical adaptation from Palestrina’s work, Dr. Monk used the first two phrases, repeated the first phrase and added original alleluias for the beginning and the end. (Alleluia is a Latin form of the Hebrew Hallelujah, which means “praise the Lord!”). It is interesting to note the interplay between the statements of fact related to Christ’s resurrection that are contained in the first half of each stanza and the personal response to these factual truths as expressed in the last half of each verse, concluding with the jubilant “AIleluia!”
The strife is o’er—the battle done, the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!
The pow’rs of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions hath dispersed; let shouts of holy joy outburst: Alleluia!
The three sad days have quickly sped; He rises glorious from the dead; all glory to our risen Head! Alleluia!
He closed the yawning gates of hell; the bars from heav’n’s high portals fell; let hymns of praise His triumphs tell: Alleluia!
Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee, from death’s dread sting Thy servants free, that we may live and sing to Thee: Alleluia!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
For Today: Isaiah 25:7–9; Romans 1:4; 6:9–10; Revelation 19:1, 2
Allow your soul to vibrate with the resounding “Alleluias” for all that the empty tomb means to you. Use this fine hymn to help realize—