Sunday, April 24, 2011

He's Alive!

When I saw Dolly Parton sing this song on the CMA awards in 1989, I assumed that she had written it. I recently learned it was written by Christian musician Don Francisco.

I discovered the work of Don's wife, Wendy Francisco, in 2009 through Dog and God, which points out some simple but important concepts about what God's love is like.

God created us and He loves all of us. Jesus associated with people who were judged by others to be sinners, but every last one of us are sinners. Jesus died for sinners so that our individual acceptance of His death for our sins and His resurrection means we can be made right and be with Him in the place he has provided for us. This is what we celebrate at Easter.

If you like, follow along with the lyrics below.

He's Alive – Don and Wendy Francisco
The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin' through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers' feet
But there was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told me where she'd been
She said they might have moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where
The stone's been rolled away
And now His body isn't there

We both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they'd taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn't lift me very high
'Cause I'd seen them crucify him
Then I saw him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I'd promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn't be the same

But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove the shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With his arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried

Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I'd ever had
Just melted into peace

He's alive yes He's alive
Yes He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide

He's alive He's alive He's alive
I believe it He's alive
Sweet Jesus


  1. He is risen!
    He is risen, indeed!

  2. (from my soapbox)

    I also remember the evening that Dolly Parton sang He's Alive on the CMA's and thought it was very inspirational. On a more recent CMT awards show, she (along with Elton John) sang John and Yoko's Imagine, whose lyrics suggest that there's no heaven, no religion, nothing to kill or die for. In my opinion, this song glamorizes an existence in which there's nothing worth fighting for as an ideal life of peace. From where I'm sitting, nothing to die for also means nothing to live for. Although I was disappointed to hear Parton sing it, I understood that being a member of the Beatles, and then murdered by a senseless act of violence, helped turn John Lennon and his music into a legend – so it was a good move PR-wise for Parton and Elton John (also music legends) to perform it.

    I've learned that I'm not the only music fan who was disappointed to hear Dolly sing Imagine – or who thinks this song's message is foolish:
    Dolly Parton sings communist anthem (haha ... yes, Stormfront is a white-pride forum)

  3. Guess when I put up an "Imagine" video on Facebook, I didn't know all that you mention in your comment, Carla. Thank you for pointing out some things I didn't even know.

  4. Thanks for responding, because I never intended that seemingly negative soapbox comment to be my only response. And with that said ...

    * ahem *

    I also remember the evening that Dolly Parton sang He's Alive on the CMA's and thought it was very inspirational – so much so that I came right up off the sofa when that stage screen rose behind Dolly to reveal a full choir accompaniment as she belted out HE'S ALIVE! I'd watched the awards show alone, and there was no discussion of this magnificent CMA moment the following morning at work. Over ten years later I turned to Google in the hopes of finding Dolly's moving performance – or at least acknowledgement that I wasn't the only one who remembered it — but evidently didn't search hard enough and began to wonder if perhaps I'd dreamed the whole thing.

    Like you, I didn't realize who was behind this triumphant Easter ballad – and like you, I'd smiled at Wendy's tail-wagging dog when it danced at her return with glee – and like you, I was charmed to learn that these two Christian artists are married to one another. I particularly like how Wendy turns to Don with that grin on her face at 5:10 because she knows that the band and tuxedos are fixinta stand up in glorious unison with her husband!

    And I am deeply thankful for your Easter message. It allowed me to re-live a favorite memory that I'd thought was lost forever – and introduced a new one to cherish.