April 22, 2021
by Barbara Dilly
Creighton University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 276

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
John 6:44-51

Celebrating Easter


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Our Hope for Everlasting Life

Finding Hope in the Easter Season

When I read the lessons for today, especially the passage about the Ethiopian eunuch who had been baptized by Phillip on the road to Gaza, I was immediately drawn to the words, “on his way rejoicing.”  It reminded of me of an old but very, popular hymn, “On Our Way Rejoicing.”  It was written by John S. B. Monsell, a chaplain and rector of several churches in Ireland and England.  He wrote over three hundred hymns, this one in 1863.  The verses of the hymn are printed below.  It was sung consistently in several denominations ever since and even experienced a rise in popularity in the 1990s, tapering off again in the 2000s.  As was the case for many hymns, it was composed by a pastor to intensify the lessons of a particular Sunday through music and to intensify their message in the minds of worshipers in the week to come. 

This hymn has come to be a particularly strong endorsement of the rest of the readings for today.  It is a clear call to proclaim the good news of our redemption through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as a fulfilled promise of God.  It is about rejoicing as in Psalm 66, where we are reminded to "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy!"

Verse 1:
On our way rejoicing, gladly let us go,
Christ our Lord has conquered, vanquished is the foe.
Christ without our safety, Christ within our joy,
Who, if we be faithful, can our hope destroy?

On our way rejoicing, 
As we (homeward, forward, or onward) move.   (changed for recessions or processions)
Hearken to our praises,
O, blest God of love.

Verse 2:
Unto God the Father, Joyful songs we sing,
Unto God the savior, thankful hearts we bring,
Unto God the Spirit, bow we and adore,
On our way rejoicing, now and evermore.

Verse 3: (Not found in all hymn books)
If with honest-hearted, love for God and man,
Day by day Thou find us, doing what we can.
Thou who gives the seed-time, wilt give large increase,
Crown the head with blessings, fill the heart with peace.

I pray that today many readers will find this a useful way to pray today’s lessons throughout the day, as we go ON OUR WAY REJOICING!

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