Tetelestai! or, an Easter Memorial

Following is a traditional Russian hymn that was translated to English by John Brownlie around 1920. I’ve looked at this for some time now, and there is no way I’m going to try and change it. Brownlie did a lovely job, period.

Yesterday, Good Friday, I reflected on the death of Christ. Death is something very real, but for the Christian, death is also something very powerless. It has been said that death’s sting is akin to that of a bee. It stings once, and then death itself dies, never again to harm you.

However, between death and resurrection is a dark time. There is no victory: only questions. The disciples spent those days as lost men, trying to go back to a life they had abandoned. They had forged a bond together, but Christ, the glue of those bonds, was no longer holding them together. They had nothing left, so they returned to the only life they knew before they met Jesus. What a miserable existence!

This Easter / Passover / Resurrection season, don’t move so fast from the cross to the empty tomb. Don’t forget to weep, because you are the reason that Jesus died.

Lo, He is dead! The suffering Christ is dead;
Closed are His eyes, and bowed is His head.
Dead, too, in shame! Upon a Cross! and see,
Thorns crown His brow, in cruel mockery.
O night, and woe! The sun and stars are gone;
Dark is the world, and hope, despairing, flown.
Art Thou not Christ? The Christ of God, art Thou?
How then this death? This awful silence, how?
O sin, and death, and victory of the grave!
Canst Thou, in death, O Christ, Thy people save?
Weep in the night, O mortals at the grave;
Dead is the Christ, and dead He cannot save.


  1. Jodi

    Amen! It should break our hearts!

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Truth! 🙂

  2. Lori (CC)

    This is great Ryan! I benefit from you working thru your relationship with God. Your honesty regarding this relationship is enlightening, because similar to a conversation we had in Greeley, that’s the way we should be able to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Honestly and openly. Love you!!

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      Thanks for the nod, Lori. I’m trying to keep it real, if nothing else.

  3. Katherine

    How do I listen to the songs?

    1. Ryan (Post author)

      No music here on the site. Many of the hymns link to music files, and some include sheet music, but that’s not my forte. This hymn, as I understand it, is pretty rare, and I’m not sure the music is readily available.

      If you like hymns and music, I would recommend Kings Kaleidoscope. Very good music!

  4. Pingback: O Light That Knew No Dawn - Unhymned

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