Lift Up Your Heads
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“Lift Up Your Heads” was commissioned by the Institute for Liturgical Studies at Valparaiso University as the inaugural hymn in its Christus Rex Hymn Commission project. Susan Briehl was asked to craft a text to fit the RCL pericopes for Easter 2C, but that might also be useful throughout the Easter season. Her lovely hymn draws upon sacramental imagery that also makes it appropriate throughout the church year.
The tune, WEST LEESTAD, starts with an upward melodic gesture that illustrates the opening mandate to lift up our heads, hearts, voices, and hands. The half-notes and meter changes that give the tune its sense of “lift” and suspended time are not difficult, and can be easily learned by a choir or assembly if carefully introduced. The single high point in the tune comes at the beginning of the third phrase, giving added emphasis to the last line of each stanza, which describes God’s unending graciousness to us through Christ, and (in the fourth stanza) how we are called to share that grace with others as Christ moves “through our hearts and hands.”