“All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding” (LSB 462) is a great hymn with text by Pastor Stephen Starke and tune (MICHAEL) by Herbert Howells, a great English composer of the 20th century. Like all of Pastor Starke’s hymn texts this hymn has great imagery and is packed full of rich meaning.
The first stanza shows how the whole earth rejoices at Christ’s resurrection: All the earth with joy is sounding: Christ has risen from the dead! He, the greater Jonah, bounding From the grace, His three-day bed, Wins the prize: Death’s demise– Songs of triumph fill the skies. Just as Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish and God made the fish spew him out, so Christ was three days in His tomb, but the grave could not hold Him. And by Christ’s death and resurrection He has destroyed death so that the grave will not hold any who have faith in Him.
Stanza two continues telling of Christ’s mighty deeds: Christ, the devil’s might unwinding, Leaves behind His borrowed tomb. Stronger He, the strong man binding, Takes, disarms his house of doom; In the rout Casting out Powers of darkness, sin, and doubt. Christ has not only destroyed death, but He has also destroyed the might of the devil. Satan is now like a roaring lion that has lost its teeth; he can harm us no longer.
Stanza three: Jesus, author of salvation, Shared in our humanity; Crowned with radiant exaltation, Now He shares His victory! From His face Shines the grace Meant for all our fallen race. Christ has won the victory and now shares it with us. We are given the sure and certain hope of the resurrection from the dead and eternal life with Christ because He died and rose again! As we say in the Proper Verse during the Easter season: Alleluia! Alleluia! We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Alleluia! Since Christ gives us His victory, death no longer has dominion over us. We are Christ’s people and nothing can snatch us from His hand.
The hymn concludes with a hymn of praise to our Paschal Lamb: Praise the Lord, His reign commences, Reign of life and liberty– Paschal Lamb, for our offenses, Slain and raised to set us free! Evermore Bow before Christ, the Lord of Life adore! Thanks be to God that He sent His Son to die in our place and then raised Him up on the third day, proclaiming His victory over all that would assail us. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!