Sunday, April 5, 2015


History of Hymns: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”

by Peyton Strouth
"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today"
Charles Wesley
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 302
Charles Wesley
Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! 

"Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" is a classic Easter hymn by the great hymn writer Charles Wesley. It first appeared in a collection by John and Charles Wesley called Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739) without the "alleluia's," which were added in the early 19th century.

Only a few other minor changes have been made since that time. The six stanzas that appear in The UM Hymnal have been adapted from the original 11; stanzas six, seven, eight and nine have been left out entirely. The current second stanza is actually the first couplet of the original second stanza and the last couplet of the original third stanza.

One other change of note occurred in the second line of the first stanza, which has been altered from "Sons of men and angels say" to "Earth and heaven in chorus say." Though altered for inclusive language purposes, this change actually gives more emphasis to the metaphor in the second line that describes heaven and earth in chorus -- now they are antiphonal, with heaven singing and the reply coming back from earth.

Charles Wesley has written a hymn in praise of the power of Christ. The hymn begins with both heaven and earth singing in praise of Christ having won the battle and defeated death. The praise continues in the second stanza where Wesley first refers to Christ as "Love" and "redeemer." He quotes Paul's letter to the Corinthians (15:55) where Paul is taunting death: "Where O Death is now thy sting? Where's thy victory boasting grave?" The next stanza answers the question and says that we have the same power, if we follow Christ.

A striking feature of the hymn is that its text is written in the present tense. "Christ the Lord is risen today" -- not "has risen" or "rose." This is powerful because it places us in community with those who witnessed the resurrection in their own lifetimes, and reaffirms our own hope of being set free from death. "Made like him, like him we rise" -- also stated in the present tense -- conveys a hope that brings God's power and new life now, lifting us from our current situation of "death" and into everlasting life.

Hope? Now? Is Wesley saying that Christ's hope is now? And if so what does this mean for the suffering, the oppressed, the abused and the lost? Is Wesley calling us to action? If we follow the example of our "exalted head," will it take us to "the cross, the grave, the skies?" Alleluia, it will! I think he is calling us to action! The skies are exciting, but we also need to be willing to follow Christ to the cross and the grave even if we know that we will be triumphant over them.

The final stanza declares that if we are indeed made like Christ and we follow his example, then we can know everlasting life (John 3:16). This is our ultimate hope -- present, past and future. This is so empowering to us and to others, to know that Christ died for us, and that his power enables us to overcome suffering and death just like he did. "Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time To Order Easter Lilies!!!

Deadline March 22

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Blog for Lent
Passover for All of Us
Reflections on the book What Every Christian Needs to Know about Passover
By Nancy DeStefano
Week One:  Introduction

Our Lenten study of Rabbi Evan Moffic’s book What Every Christian Needs to Know about Passover will be our way of preparing for the Seder meal we will enjoy on March 31st (Tuesday of Holy Week), led by Rabbis Shira and Adam Roffman.  This is a wonderful book that will help us come to better understand both the meaning of the Seder for our Jewish brothers and sisters and our own celebration of the Eucharist.

This blog will move chapter by chapter through the book each week.  I cannot do the book justice – so I really encourage you to obtain a copy for yourself and read it.  Rabbi Moffic has a way of saying things that will touch you in ways that only reading about what he says cannot. 
If you are reading the book I hope this blog will help you ponder some of what it says.  If you are using the blog as your way into the book, I hope I can say enough to give you some flavor for what the book offers.

So today, we consider the introduction.  Rabbi Moffic is clearly well versed in Christianity.  The insights he offers us into the meaning of the Seder are filled with parallels for us in our practice of Christianity.  He writes with an appreciation for what we believe as Christians and enriches our understanding of what Passover meant for Jesus and can mean for us.  It is not just the Passover that Jews celebrate once a year that is made clear for us, but as Rabbi Moffic points out, every time we celebrate Holy Communion we enter into this sacred meal that Jesus shared with his disciples and that we share with the Jews in their remembrance of the Exodus experience.

By our study we will rediscover and appreciate more deeply our Jewish roots and be able to better understand Jesus as a Jew of his time and place.  We will also deepen our appreciation of our Jewish heritage.  We will be able to see how Judaism and Christianity intersect in our shared experience of liberation and God’s call on each of us to a life of justice-seeking for all.
In the introduction, Rabbi Moffic reminds the reader that the meal that was eaten by Moses, Aaron, Miriam and all the Israelites on the night they were led out of Egypt to freedom is the same meal that Jesus ate with his disciples at the Last Supper.  It is the same meal that we eat every time we gather for Holy Communion.  I don’t just mean that the meals are similar.  In the Jewish understanding of this meal, every time it is eaten the participants are there with Moses; they are participating in the liberation of the people by God’s hand.  This is the true and fullest meaning of “symbol”.  When a ritual is a symbol it does not just recall a past event to our minds but rather makes that event present in the moment so that we are there and it is here.  Past and present come together and point us to the future – God’s future.  It is, therefore, a meal that celebrates and promises freedom.  It is a meal of liberation from oppression and slavery.  It is a meal that gives thanks for God’s deliverance from all that keeps us enslaved and all that imprisons us. 

The Rabbi writes: “This book explores the radical claim that one meal – one momentous meal – the Passover Seder, can in fact change your life.”
How does it do that?  The book suggests several ways that will be considered in more depth throughout the book.  The meal has the power to bring us closer to God.  It can help us to confront all that enslaves and imprisons us – all the places where we encounter scarcity and fear, all the places where we feel trapped or inadequate.  God stretches out God’s arms and sets us free.

Our theme of “journey” this Lent is a metaphor for our life with God.  Each of us is walking a spiritual path to wholeness and holiness.  As Lent begins, we consider those places that need to be unpacked, cleared away, cleaned up in order to make the journey.  This is one of the ways the Passover works in us.  As we contemplate the areas of our own enslavement we are empowered to let them go, turn away from them, ask God to deliver us from them and so by God’s grace we are set free.

How often do we receive Communion without fully realizing its power to set us free?  Moses and the participants at the first Passover were slaves to the power of the Pharoah – but God’s power was greater and through God’s loving care they were led to freedom.  Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal in a land that was enslaved to the Roman Empire.   Jesus drew strength from this meal to walk the path to freedom that would take him through the cross to new life.  Every time we go to the Communion table this same path to freedom, even though filled with obstacles and struggles, is ours as well. 

As our study of Passover and our living of Lent begins, we would do well to consider what enslaves us today?  Where are we oppressed, where are we blocked from moving forward in freedom? What empires hold us?   Are we slaves to our possessions, our careers, our identity?  Are we imprisoned by addictions – and these need not be limited to chemical addictions – anything that possesses us and keeps us from being fully devoted to God can be an addiction.  Even our devotion to our family can enslave us if we do what we do out of a need to control, or to be liked or needed, or to be safe.

From what do you need to be freed?  Where are you enslaved?  Will you let God set you free?  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"United Methodist Women"
are raising awareness and educating about Human Trafficking.

Visit their Facebook page for 
amazing information and statistics.

This is happening today in this country and not somewhere else.
Too much to post.

Visit their Facebook page at:

Also.........New Worship Series
Started Sunday the 11th!!!

Click Here For More Information And Schedule!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lord You Wait for Us – An Advent Meditation for 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

The LGBT Issue You Haven’t Heard About
(and 5 ways you can help) 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

United Methodist Women

Making the World a Better Place for Children

First Sunday in Advent


St. Stephen Ornaments
The ornament depicts one our beautiful chapel windows on one side and a picture of our church with the year on the other. It is our plan to offer a different ornament each year so that you may collect all of the chapel window pictures over the next         several years.

Price for one: $20       2 or more are $18 each
Orders will be placed weekly so pre-order yours today
Sign up sheet on the table in the foyer.

And Also......


This is the same brand of the delicious Salsa we sold back in the spring

$8 a jar

Makes great gifts!
Choose from Mild, Hot, Black Bean, Mango, Raspberry Chipotle
Please contact the church office or one of the Elation Counselors

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The United Methodist Church commends President Obama granting deferred status for as many as five million undocumented immigrants through
"Immigration Accountability Executive Actions".

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to Talk to Your Crazy Uncle
About Marriage Equality 

How to Talk to Your Crazy Uncle About Marriage Equality

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Big Thanks And A Hug To
All Those Who Stood By
Brothers And Sisters In Christ Sunday
At The Dallas Pride Parade!!!
( Click Picture To Enlarge )

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” 
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

Monday, September 1, 2014

New And Upcoming
@ St. Stephen!!! 

Click On One For More Information:

Great start!!!
"18" In Attendance @ 1st Young Adult Sunday School!!!   
Come Help Us Grow This In
A Church Truly Accepting Of All!

New Worship Service!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Worship Service Coming In September!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Important Message From Texas Bishops!
Link To Your Left.

The backdrop for this song when it came out was
the Vietnam War.

Today it's the whole world!!!

Link: Playing For Change

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” 
― John Wesley

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014