Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee (ELW 836)
1 Joyful, joyful we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love!
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee,
praising thee, their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
drive the gloom of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day.
2 All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heav’n reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird, and flowing fountain
call us to rejoice in thee.
3 Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring 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!
I vividly remember my delight at age twelve when I discovered “Ode to Joy” in my beginner flute lesson book. I had been practicing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and other “baby” songs for weeks and I finally felt like I had come upon a real, important piece of music. I didn’t know much about the song or its famous composer except that I recognized the tune from church. In that music I felt connected to something outside of my school, my preteen drama, and even my family. I felt connected in a special way to my congregation and to God. There are many things on earth that can likewise serve to connect us to our community of faith and our creator. As leaders in our faith, I believe it is our responsibility to help others make those connections, to delight in recognizing that the things they do also point to God. As the hymn tells us in verse 2, “All thy works with joy surround thee, earth and heaven reflect thy rays.”
Holy Creator, we pray that we, too, may reflect your rays in whatever task we perform. Amen.