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Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

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!

As Sunday approaches I was comforted by the text of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I am in desperate need of the exuberance and joy that is reflected in this text. For me, my joy – expressed through singing – has been stopped in it’s tracks and I am having to express that joy in other ways.

The hymn text was written by Henry Jackson van Dyke, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1852 and became pastor of Brick Presbyterian Church in NYC.  Van Dyke felt like his text could only be sung to the tune ODE TO JOY by Beethoven – and so it has been sung ever since! The Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts were the inspiration for his writing.

This hymn is ultimately a hymn of trust and joy and hope.  We are filled with joy at what God is revealing, and we adore our “God of glory and Lord of love.”  When we give thanks for all God has done for us our “hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,” and as a result the joy expressed changes our attitudes toward life’s challenges and problems. And so our prayer is to “melt the clouds of sin and sadness, and drive the dark of doubt away.” 

God’s marvelous works are all around us, even in the uncertain days ahead.  Despite all of the unknown we are “giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed.” And as a result of that great blessing we call out to God to “teach us how to love each other.”

And so, whatever situations you face in the coming days, remember that God knows it already.  God will be there to help and to give you joy in the midst of every trial. We just have to be open to God’s “lifting us with the joy divine.”

Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living,
ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Savior, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine.

Stephen Mitchell

 

P.S. - You’ll hear this hymn on our new organ this Sunday as the Prelude.

Listen

 

Posted by Stephen Mitchell with

The Power of God’s Spirit 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 

Do you believe in the power of God’s Holy Spirit? Acts 1:8 states it clearly: “You WILL receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Is that not a refreshing word right now, church? We do not have to rely solely on our own strength in this season. We are not alone. I’m intrigued, too, by the text that comes next. Jesus is speaking directly to the disciples. They learn that not only will they receive power from the Holy Spirit, but they will be witnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry in Jerusalem and all over the world. This is good news! We, as disciples of Christ, are still called to be witnesses to the Gospel in all of our particular locations around our communities and the world today. 

I remain fascinated by the actions and responsibilities of discipleship. At an online seminar I attended the other week, a pastor from North Georgia said, “Part of the goal for leaders is to make more leaders.” A healthy model of leadership produces multiplication of leadership. This is true, too, of discipleship. It makes me think about that great model for the role of the church in the world: Come and See, Go and Tell. 

Let this scripture text today remind us to be intentional about being witnesses for Christ for and from others in the world even in the midst of pandemic. Who are you discipling in these days? Who is discipling you? It seems like a more difficult task without our steady gatherings in person, doesn’t it? True, it is. But be reminded this very moment that you WILL receive power from God’s Holy Spirit for the work we are called to as Christ’s disciples. Perhaps this season is moving us to creative and fresh models of discipleship that we did not look to in the same way in the past. The phone can be a tool for discipleship. The computer can be a tool for discipleship. Written letters can be a tool for discipleship. Insert your own gifts, creativities, tools, and witness to still disciple others in this season. Be a leader with the intentionality to build up and to encourage other leaders, one who is also willing to be encouraged and discipled as well on the journey. GO/STAY/BE and disciple. Trust the power of God’s Spirit for this challenging and great task. 

-Josh Miles 

Posted by Josh Miles with

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