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This morning I noticed the post from the Northern Illinois Synod on Facebook. If you didn’t see it, it was a beautiful picture of the sun breaking through some storm clouds over the water. This was the caption:

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the gloom of doubt away.

If you don’t recognize them, they are some of the lyrics from the popular hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” The lyrics were written by Henry Van Dyke who was an author, diplomat, educator, and pastor in 1907. The melody for the hymn comes from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony which was performed for the first time in 1824 with Beethoven himself conducting the piece. It is also known as the “choral symphony” because it was one of the very first times a chorus performed with the orchestra in a symphony. So, the merging of Beethoven’s musical masterpiece with the amazing lyrics of Van Dyke make this timeless hymn a real treasure!

We will be “not singing” Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee this Sunday but I invite you to focus on the words that are sure to break through any storm clouds we may be experiencing today!

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.

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.

Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
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!

Joyful, joyful indeed!

Pastor Lu