General Question

prolificus's avatar

When Christians sing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today," what exactly do they mean?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 4th, 2010 from iPhone

This is not to start a debate about the validity of Christianity, but to discuss what Christians actually believe when they celebrate Easter.

Is the expression “Christ the Lord is risen today” literal, firgurative, symbolic, or is it simply commemorative of an event?

If you do use this expression, what does it mean to you?

Again, I’m not wanting to debate the validity of anything. I’m wanting to discuss the meaning of something. Please respect this.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

27 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

They are singing of the resurrection of Christ from the dead three days after his crucifiction.

ChaosCross's avatar

I believe it is a literal expression pertaining to when Christ rose up from the dead, which is the celebrationr the Catholic church decided to connect to the pagan holiday easter.

davidbetterman's avatar

It is self-explanatory.

Shuttle128's avatar

@davidbetterman If the phrase itself was self-explanatory I highly doubt @prolificus would be asking this question. After all self-explanatory literally means “capable of being understood without explanation.”

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Christians mean this literally. Christ (Jesus, who was crucified and died) is risen (has come back to life) today (today, meaning Easter.) This is pretty much the bedrock of the Christian’s faith.

Response moderated
DarkScribe's avatar

Dunno. Back when I would sing in Church, all that I was doing was checking out the girls. It was the only reason I went to mass. A lot of those girls’ Sunday frocks had a good display of cleavage.

thriftymaid's avatar

In the Christian faith it is representative of life overcoming death.

gemiwing's avatar

It depends on the version of Christianity. Some view it as symbolic, some as physical truth and some a mystical experience.

Judi's avatar

Death has been conquered! The victory has been won. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!
Here’s a fun short video that explains it better than me

Response moderated
anartist's avatar

@prolificus “Is the expression “Christ the Lord is risen today” literal, figurative, symbolic, or is it simply commemorative of an event?” Each singer would have his or her interpretation based on his or her beliefs.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Shuttle128 Hard to believe anyone over the age of ten in the year 1010 doesn’t have a clue to the meaning of Christ has risen.
Especially when @prolificus’s profile plainly states under Hobbies & interests:

religion, interfaith, theology, Bible, world religions, spirituality, philosophy

So, in this case, you should have that GA removed.

prolificus's avatar

@davidbetterman – in the year 1010? By the way, you’re assuming that I don’t have a clue. I purposely didn’t describe my personal belief in the OP because I wanted to hear what others (Christians and non-Christians) believe the expression means. I think there are various interpretations of the expression (not necessarily right or wrong, just different). I know what my interpretation is, but I don’t know the variety of others’. Hence why I asked and outlined the possible interpretations (“literal, firgurative, symbolic, or is it simply commemorative of an event”).

@Shuttle128 is correct. To say the expression is self-explanatory is to assume there is only one understanding or interpretation.

Jeruba's avatar

Easter commemorates the event of the Resurrection in the same way that Christmas commemorates the event of the Nativity, the two anchor points of the Christan faith.

“Risen today” means both the actual (believed-in) arising after the crucifixion and the assertion that Jesus lives now, today, in the real world, somehow.

Shuttle128's avatar

@davidbetterman Not everything is self-evident (as you seem to think). Especially not the meaning of a phrase that draws on such abstract concepts.

PacificToast's avatar

It’s completely literal. We’re celebrating today that Christ the Lord is risen from the dead three days after his crucifixion. I don’t see how this could be abstract. But it means to me that Jesus defeated death, so we don’t all have to burn in hell in eternal death without God.

Shuttle128's avatar

That sounds pretty abstract to me….

jazmina88's avatar

I’ll interpret it as it means to my abstract, philosophical self. Jesus died because he believed something different. He practiced love. because he was awesome, God snatched him up
so he didnt have to rot and took him away from death and this icky world. That was a miracle!
Wouldn’t you like to practice love so the Great Whomever snatches you up when you die?

El_Cadejo's avatar

mmmmmmmm zombies

ThrallKiller's avatar

Most Christians mean it literally. Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. We believe he was enclosed in that tomb but rose from death on the third day and ascended into Heaven.

Shuttle128's avatar

You guys keep saying it’s literal but the phrase requires context and interpretation. The definition you use of risen could be any number of 10 accepted definitions. Risen could mean simply to get up off the floor. To say something is to be taken literally, especially something that uses abstract concepts such as rising from the dead, is simply wrong. That is not literal in any sense.

ThrallKiller's avatar

With our beliefs though, his rising from the dead is not abstract and we do see it literally. We believe he died, was entombed, then God breathed life back into him, causing him to rise from the dead. Literally. He was dead and he arose. He was laying in his tomb, completely stone dead, then miraculously he awoke from death and stood up and walked out of the tomb. Literally.

Shuttle128's avatar

Your beliefs are the context required to interpret what the phrase means. Without that context and interpretation there could be any number of “literal” interpretations. That’s all I’m saying.

Four of you so far seem to think that the phrase is inherently embedded with the context and interpretation necessary to allow anyone to find the “right” literal meaning. That just isn’t true.

mattbrowne's avatar

It means that his spirit is alive today. Jesus reminded us that we make ourselves very unhappy when we hate other people. This reminder saves us from living a miserable life.

The majority of Christians and the vast majority of educated Christians don’t believe the resurrection was a physical and biological event with Jesus exiting the tomb, growing wings and flying upward into the sky. The miracle is that we still talk about him 2000 years later trying hard to be the salt and the light.

kess's avatar

Simply stated is that they are all that you have stated
now the key thing is to determine how does each relate to Life itself.

Strauss's avatar

@Shuttle128 You have a point, but the OP asks what Christians mean when they sing the song. For many (if not most) Christian religions, the Resurrection is an article of faith, a core belief of their religion.

As far as context, the song is sung at Easter, which, as noted above, is the Christian celebration of that Resurrection

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther