Shout for Joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music. Ps. 98:4
It doesn’t matter what we are experiencing in life, we always have reason to shout for joy because of who God is and what He has done for us. We recently sung the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” This hymn of trust acknowledges the trials of life and urges us to press on. The first verse is a prayer for God to, “Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day.” The second verse points to God’s creation in nature as a healer (fields, forest, vale, mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, chanting bird & flowing fountain) that calls us to rejoice in Him. Verse three points to the nature of God and Christ (giving, forgiving, blessing, wellspring of joy, Christ our brother) that teaches us how to love each other and lifts us to share in divine joy. The final verse calls for all mankind to join the chorus, always singing as we march forward as “Victors in the midst of strife.” It is the joyful music that inspires us to move steadily towards the sun (and the Son), “in the triumph song of life.”
It is interesting that writer and pastor, Henry van Dyke set these words in 1907 to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” that was first published in 1786. Beethoven suffered his entire life with depression, loneliness, and the struggle of deafness while composing, performing, and conducting. Despite these struggles, he had a deeply personal faith in God and wrote in his journal, “Therefore calmly will I submit myself to all inconsistency and will place all my confidence in your eternal goodness, O God! My soul shall rejoice in Thee, immutable being. Be my rock, my light, forever my trust.”
This kind of inspiration is why we need to come together and worship each week!
In joyful song,
Dr. Deborah Herring