Insightful Articles About Faith and Religion

16 REASONS & A PRAYER

WHY CHRISTIANS LOVE GOD

  1. God of Glory is Life and Love
  2. Hearts unfold like flowers before Him, opening to the sun above.
  3. He melts the clouds of sin and sadness
  4. He drives our fears and doubts away
  5. He gives immortal gladness
  6. He fills us with the Light of Day
  7. His works with Joy surround Him
  8. Earth and heaven reflect His rays
  9. Starts and angels sing around Him
  10. He is the center of unbroken praise
  11. Fields and forests, vales and mountains, flowery meadows, flashing seas, chanting birds and flowing fountains, sound their praise eternally
  12. He is giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest
  13. He is the wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
  14. He is the source of grace and fount of blessing
  15. His own love is reigning over us

Robert J. Morgan tells us in his book Then Sings My Soul that a hundred and fifteen years ago, , Henry VanDyke, a Princeton professor and author wrote these lyrics in while at Williams College in Massachusetts. “[VanDyke] handed the college president a piece of paper, saying, ‘Here is a hymn for you. Your mountains (the Berkshires) were my inspiration. It must be sung to the music of Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy.” 

Robert Morgan goes on to write that VanDyke explained the hymn: “The verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.” 

Christians have sung it in worship since then. Henry VanDyke knew God’s truth and set it down to a beautiful, well-known, piece of music. It is a song of belief as well as being filled with truth about who God is and what God does. Moreover, when people hear the first stanza, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You, they sing it vigorously, with conviction. They strongly relate to the lyrics because this song is about a personal journey most Christians have trod and having trod it, they know God more intimately. 

VanDyke cleverly inserted a prayer toward the end of the song, asking God to 

“Let your Light Upon Us Shine; 

Teach Us how to love each other; 

lift us to the joy divine.” 

Then this effervescent hymn begs us, 

“Mortals, join the mighty chorus 

Which the morning stars began.” 

Every line of this beautiful hymn is a proof statement beyond faith of what Henry VanDyke, and perhaps all who since, with unbound enthusiasm have or personally want to experience with God their Father in Heaven. Truly it is joyful and hope-filled!

I am so appreciative to Mr. Morgan for ending his essay on this “classic hymn” by referencing Jeremiah 29:11. 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

VanDyke echoes something like this back to us in the last part of his hymn, 

“Father love is reigning o’er us, Brother love binds man to man.” 

He then moves on with these words of encouragement:

“Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife; 

Joyful music lifts us sun-ward, in the triumph song of life.”

[VanDyke when on to become US Ambassador to the Netherlands and Luxemburg during WW I, as well as many leadership positions in the Presbyterian church.]

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