There have been many great Gospel songs written that call us to worship and adore our great God, the Creator of the universe. And some, like this week's choice, also remind us that we are to do that joyfully with thanksgiving. In Psalm 100 the Psalmist exclaims "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with Gladness. Come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord, He is God!" The great words of this hymn are a poem written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 with the intention of musically setting it to the famous "Ode to Joy" melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's final symphony, Symphony No. 9. Van Dyke wrote this poem while in Williams College, Massachusetts, while staying at the home of Harry Augustus Garfield. One morning at the breakfast table, Van Dyke handed the manuscript to Mr. Garfield, the Williams college president, saying, "Here is a hymn for you. Your mountains [the Berkshires] were my inspiration. It must be sung to the music of Beethovan's 'Hymn to Joy.'" It was first published in 1911 by The Presbyterian Hymnal. Van Dyke wrote of this hymn: "These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time - hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope." In the first verse Van Dyke shares that the God who is manifest outwardly in creation is also the Lord who must be manifest inwardly in human life In verse 2 we are reminded that God's physical creation speaks of His glory and so directs our worship to the Creator Himself. In the third verse emphasis is now placed on the spiritual blessings that this same creative God provides for the inner needs of man. Finally, in the last verse, the ultimate effect of our relationship with this God is victory over the ills of life and eternal triumph as we march onward to be with God. We also need to remember that every good gift comes from God. Therefore, may we ever express our praise to Him as we sing, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee."
1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
2. All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
3. Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.
4. Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o'er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.
Listen to this great hymn here. LISTEN