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