"Joyful, Joyful, Lord We Adore Thee" by Henry Van Dykeby Dr. Zelda Robinson on April 11, 2022
Holy week begins with the remembrance of the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The bible says, Christ entered the city like a king arriving in triumph. As He rode in, the people began to lay their coats, palm branches, and other articles of clothing on the road. Whether the crowd realized what was really going on or not, their words filled the air with the joyful announcement of the coming kingdom of David.
Henry Van Dyke who was born at Germantown, Pennsylvania, is the author of this hymn. He received his education at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Berlin, He was a Presbyterian minister who spent most of his career as a professor of English literature at Princeton University.
While he was a guest speaker at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, among the Berkshire Hills Van Dyke was inspired to write the words of this hymn. He said he was inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire mountains. The hymn was originally written as a poem. He wanted to add these words to the tune of Beethoven’s, “Ode to Joy.” The music had already been arranged as a hymn. VanDyke gave the words to the president of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is said to have told the president, "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.’" hymnstudiesblog.wordpress.com
Hearts unfold like flow'rs before You, Op'ning 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 Your works with joy surround You, Earth and heav'n reflect Your rays,
Stars and angels sing around You, Center of unbroken praise;
Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow'ry meadow, flashing sea,
Chanting bird and flowing fountain; Praising You eternally!
The joyous melody and the words remind us of all the wonderful things our Creator has done and the words of Nehemiah (8:10), “the joy of the Lord is our strength.”
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. 2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. 4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. 5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. Psalm 126