Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Come and sing in our Christmas cantata!

 cantata

 Wednesdays, October 14 – December 16, 8:00 – 8:45 in the Sanctuary

All are welcome!

Cantata December 20 at the 11am worship

A Hymn for this Sunday: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Theedownload (1)

One of the best-known hymns in the English language, Henry Van Dyke’s poem of 1907 was inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts, where he was guest preaching at Williams College.

 

It has been said that Van Dyke handed the poem to the president of the college, saying: “Here is a hymn for you. Your mountains were my inspiration. It must be sung to the music of Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy.’”

The text seems to follow the creation story:

 

  • Earth was dark, God created light (stanza 1).

 Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away…Fill us with the light of day!

 

  • God created water, plants and trees, and every living creature (stanza 2).

 Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea…Chanting bird and flowing fountain…

 

  • God created man and woman (stanza 3, sadly omitted in the Presbyterian Hymnal).

 Always giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest…Teach us how to love each other…


The adaptation of Beethoven’s stirring melody from the final movement of his Ninth Symphony is an excellent companion to this text. Though other texts have been paired with Beethoven’s music, Van Dyke’s is by far the most popular.

 

Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life.

(from stanza 4)

 

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