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Monday, November 2, 2015

Monday Morning Devo - Song Stories: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee


I have this huge fascination about why stories and songs were written. What tickled the writer's imagination? What tragedy or triumph inspired the words? Was there a "God moment" where the song sprang forth?

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee has got to be one of the happiest songs in the old hymnbooks. The poetry for the song was written by Henry van Dyke sometime prior to 1911, when it came out in his Book of Poems, third edition. He wrote it while a guest preacher at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

There's one story that says he wrote it one morning after a hike in the nearby Berkshire Mountains, brought it to the college president, saying it was a hymn that had to be sung to Beethoven's Hymn to Joy. Edward Hodges, English organist for the Trinity Church in New York, set it to the commonly used version in our hymnbooks.

Mr. van Dyke gave this reason for writing the verses:
"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."

I love that thought--no truth of science will destroy Christianity, and no war will overthrow heaven.

Check out these guys singing the song: Click HERE.

Father, Thank You for the gift of songs and singing. As this song does, we are lifted closer to heaven and You by some of the great hymns written by our ancestors. Thank You, thank You, thank You. Amen