JOYFUL, JOYFUL, WE ADORE THEE                                        written in 1907

The Story

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was not only a Presbyterian minister, but was also the author of many books… including the best-selling “The Other Wise Man”. He was a professor of literature at Princeton University, a navy chaplain during WWI, and an ambassador to Holland and Luxembourg under Pres. Woodrow Wilson.  He was certainly an interesting guy!

Henry was serving as a guest preacher at Williams College, in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, and was staying in the home of the college president, Harry A. Garfield. He was so moved by the beauty of God’s creation in the area that he wrote this hymn of joy. The next morning, he handed this hymn to his Garfield, and told him it was intended to be sung to the music of Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy’. And it has been ever since.

This song sounds as though it was written a long, long time ago; the lyrics fit an older time and, of course, the music was written long before.

The Song

            Read this hymn, and – today – adore God… joyfully!

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!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

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