I Serve a Risen Saviour, is also known by the title He Lives. It’s a wonderful song to sing at Easter, but it was next in my hymnal so I figured it’s good to be reminded of our risen saviour any day of the year.
I know that He is living, whatever men may say
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer
And just the time I need Him He’s always near
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Salvation to impart
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart
And though my heart grows weary I never will despair
I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast
The day of His appearing will come at last
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ, the King
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find
None other is so loving, so good and kind
Author and History
Presbyterian minister, Alfred Henry Ackley, was born in 1887 in Pennsylvania. His father taught him music before he headed off to the Royal Academy Music in London. Later he studied for the ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary in Maryland.
As an ordained Presbyterian pastor he served churches in Pennsylvania and California. Over the course of his life, he wrote some 1500 songs, some religious, others not. Part of his ministry involved working with evangelists Billy Sunday and Homer Rodeheaver.
He wrote this song in response to a sermon entitled He Lives. I pulled this quote from hymn stories.
“Mr. Ackley’s forthright, emphatic answer, together with his subsequent triumphant effort to win the man for Christ, flowered forth into song and crystallized into a convincing sermon on ‘He Lives!’ His keenly alert mind was sensitive to suggestions for sermons, and sermons in song. In his re-reading of the resurrection stories of the Gospels, the words ‘He is risen’ struck him with new meaning. From the thrill within his own soul came the convincing song–‘He Lives!’ The scriptural evidence, his own heart, and the testimony of history matched the glorious experience of an innumerable cloud of witnesses that ‘He Lives,’ so he sat down at the piano and voiced that conclusion in song. He says, ‘The thought of His ever-living presence brought the music promptly and easily.'”
Rev. Ackley wrote this song when inspired by a sermon. Have you ever been so inspired? Not maybe to write a sermon, but to really act on what you have heard. I know of people who hear a sermon and then KNOW they need to go the mission field. Sermons have inspired me to write letters. But I wonder… should we leave services inspired to do, and to be MORE? We’re hearing God’s word explained, we’re with his people, shouldn’t we always be inspired when we leave a church service? To do good, to be better, to act for God in more ways, and to change wrong ways within?