My Top 12 Favourite Easter Songs
I love Easter.
Not because there’s an abundance of chocolate in the supermarkets (though that is DEFINITELY a bonus) but because it’s a time when believers in Christ are encouraged to really reflect on the most important event in the history of the world, the event that is the very center of the Christian faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
This morning, as I sat down to work, singing to myself as I always do, I found myself going from song to song about the resurrection of Jesus so I started a YouTube playlist of my favourite Easter songs. Now there’s a blog idea!
It was supposed to be a list of my five favourites….then it grew to ten. A perfect number. Until I found an eleventh and a twelfth and kept on going. I stopped only when I realised that no one is going to want to read a blog called My top 37 favourite Easter songs.
So, I’m happy to report that after painstaking effort, I eventually narrowed them down and decided to go with my top 12 favourites….one for um…each disciple.
Now, please note that this is not a list of the “12 Best Easter Songs” – just simply my top 12 favourites….at least for right now. I’m pretty sure that if you ask me for my top 12 again next month, there’ll be some changes.
Also, you might be wondering, “What’s an Easter song anyway?” Well, for me, these are songs which remind me about the power of the cross, the glory of the cross, the victory of the cross, the beauty of the cross and the joy of the resurrection. These are the songs that make me well up with joy and gratitude for the sacrificial love of God the Father through Jesus Christ.
So here they are….my top 12 (in alphabetical order):
Amazing Love by Graham Kendrick
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song during a worship service at my church. After just the first two lines, (“My Lord, what love is this that pays so dearly/That I the guilty one may go free.”) I couldn’t hold back the tears.
From the 1989 album of the same name, this song is a simple, heartfelt expression of one overwhelmed by the magnitude of the love of God displayed at the cross. (“Amazing love, O what sacrifice/The Son of God given for me/ My debt He paid and my death He died/ That I might live.”)
Celebrate Jesus by Gary Oliver
Only in doing this list did I realise that the Don Moen version I’d come to know and love (found on his 2003 album God Will Make A Way) was actually a cover of an original Gary Oliver composition. This upbeat song boasts only four lines but my Resurrection Sunday is not complete without singing, at the top of my lungs, “He is riiisen! He is riiiisen! And He liiiives forevermoooooooooore!” A perfect way to celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord!
How Deep The Father’s Love For Us by Stuart Townend
When I first stumbled upon the cover of this song by Selah (from their 2009 album You Deliver Me), I played it at least 50 times that same day. This song can be classified as a modern hymn, both because of its musical arrangement and its lyrical richness. I was surprised to learn that it was not centuries old but was written by Stuart Townend in 1995. In writing it, Townend said, “I’d been meditating on the cross, and in particular what it cost the Father to give up his beloved Son to a torturous death on a cross. And what was my part in it? Not only was it my sin that put him there, but if I’d lived at that time, it would probably have been me in that crowd, shouting with everyone else ‘crucify him’.” With lines like “That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure…” and “It was my sin that held Him there…”, it’s easy to see why the song makes my list of favourites. This classic ends with the humbling lines, “Why should I gain from His reward?/ I cannot give an answer/ But this I know with all my heart/ His wounds have paid my ransom.”
In Christ Alone by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend
My relationship with this song is long-standing and very, very dear. I discovered it at one of the lowest points in my life and singing the truths in this song built me up in faith and helped me to tap into the joy of the gospel when joy seemed all too elusive. This is a song that refocuses the wandering heart, mind and soul on the glorious truth of the good news of Jesus Christ, of His great salvation and of our infinite worth in Him. Somehow, the songwriters were able to capture the entire gospel in just four verses. This is my theme song, one I’ve learned by heart and I sing whenever I need to be reminded of who I am in Christ and whose I am. My favourite lines? (“No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand/ Till He returns or calls me home—Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand….”)
Just For Me by Donnie McClurkin
From the 2000 album Live in London and More, I was introduced to this song before I ever came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Singing over and over that phrase “Just for me” started that journey of John 3:16 coming to life for me. Looking back, I see now that I was beginning to realise that while Jesus gave His life for the whole world….He also did it so that He might have me, Michaella, as His own. The cross was made personal in this song. (“Well, the cross will always represent the love God had for me/ When the Lord of glory heaven-sent gave all on Calvary/ Just for me./ Jesus came and did it just for me.”)
Oh The Cross by Carol Cymbala, Onaje Jefferson and Jason Michael Webb
This song from the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s 2009 album Declare Your Name is a song of testimony about the power of the cross to transform a life. Featured soloist Karen Melendez sings with such passion what can easily be the story of every person who has met with Jesus at the foot of the cross. The journey begins with unsatisfied longing for love (“My longing for love wouldn’t go away/ I was desperate searching, Broken by pain…/ Blinded by sin, I was lost, couldn’t see”) and ends with an encounter with Love poured out at the cross (“Now I can say in my heart I believe/ My life has been changed because of Calvary…”).
Redeemer, Savior, Friend by Darrell Evans & Chris Springer
The opening lines of this song captivated me when I first heard it: “I know You had me on Your mind when You climbed up on that hill/ For You saw me with eternal eyes while I was yet in sin…” I like to think of this song as a tender tribute to the Savior but it is also a declaration of continued dependence on Him. (“Redeemer, redeem my heart again/ Savior come and shelter me from sin/ You’re familiar with my weakness/ Devoted to the end/ Redeemer Savior Friend.” The Dave Brooks cover of this song appeared on the 2000 album WOW Worship: Orange.
Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega
After hearing this song done by worship leader Laura Hackett Park at the 2012 OneThing Conference, hosted by the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, I just couldn’t get its haunting melody and beautiful lyrics out of my mind. The song’s perfect marriage of the melody and lyrics reflect the beauty and pathos of this awesome yet terrible sacrifice of love at the cross. A Fernando Ortega original composition, my favourite version of it is from Ortega’s Live in St. Paul DVD. (“Sing to Jesus, Lord of our shame/ Lord of our sinful hearts, He is our great redeemer/ Sing to Jesus, honor His name /Sing of His faithfulness, pouring His life out unto death…/ Sing to Jesus, we are His own/ Now and forever sing for the love our God has shown…”)
The Anthem by Planetshakers
The simple lyrics and easy-to-follow melody of this song have made it a modern-day anthem in many churches across the globe. A song of triumphant declaration, don’t be surprised if it makes you want to shout out loud, “Hallelujah! You have won the victory! Hallelujah! You have won it all for me! Death could not hold you down! You are the risen king! Seated in majesty, You are the risen king!”
Victor’s Crown by Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton & Kari Jobe
This song by trio of anointed worship leaders, Darlene Zschech, Israel Houghton and Kari Jobe, is pure intercessory worship and spiritual warfare. It invites you to declare who Jesus is—the Great Overcomer who wears the Victor’s Crown—and to ascribe to Him all the honour due Him. I dare you to listen to this song without getting the bridge stuck in your head…and your spirit: “Every high thing must come down, Every stronghold shall be broken/ You wear the Victor’s crown/ You overcome! You overcome!”
Worthy Is The Lamb (Thank You For The Cross Lord) by Darlene Zschech
Something about this song from the 2001 Hillsong album You Are My World always ushers in the presence of the Lord in an unusual way for me. A song of thanksgiving and of adoration, it’s a song that I just sing straight to His heart and I often feel as though I’m joining in the heavenly worship around the throne by the time I’ve reached the chorus. “Worthy is the Lamb seated on the throne. Crown You now with many crowns, You reign victorious/ High and lifted up, Jesus, Son of God./ The darling of Heaven, crucified, worthy is the Lamb…”
Wounded One by Davy Flowers
This poetic song of love and praise by worship leader Davy Flowers reveals her intimacy with and affection for the Lord out of which she would be able to pen the opening lines, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain/ The One who broke down the great wall of enmity, and gave me His name…” The beautiful yet simple melody crescendos into a declaration of love from the Bride to her Bridegroom King as you sing the bridge, “Praise be to the Wounded One! Glory and honor to the Son/ We ascribe worth and give love to You Lord./ Let the fragrance of our love go forth…”
So, these are my favourites. Did I choose any of yours? Which ones did I leave out? Share with us your favourites!