Friday, May 28, 2010

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

In 1785 Friedrich Schiller wrote the poem "Ode to Joy" which was made famous by Beethoven's musical setting in his Ninth Symphony. The poem celebrates the ideal of mankind's unity and brotherhood. In the very next century that ideal was shattered by two world wars. If the story had ended there, Beethoven's music may have been just an ironic footnote in an otherwise very cynical and hopeless world. But the American English professor Henry Van Dyke gave a new meaning to this music when he penned the words of the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" in 1907. His lyrics made that music even more famous not by celebrating man's joy in himself but by celebrating the joy God gives in salvation. Mankind may begin searching for joy in himself or in the temporary blessings of creation. But the ultimate joy of this world goes beyond anything we can see.

Third Stanza: "Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Well-spring of the joy of living, Ocean-depth of happy rest! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Fountainhead of love divine: Joyful, we Thy heav'n inherit! Joyful, we by grace are Thine."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's All About Thine!

Protestants who attend a Catholic mass for the first time are often surprised by the abrupt ending of the Lord's Prayer often used in the Catholic Church: "...Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."

What happened to "For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever Amen" they wonder?

The earliest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament do not have this traditional ending. The ending comes along later in varying forms. One manuscript ends the prayer with "For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen."

The traditional ending is found in the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. John was famous pastor in the early church who died in A.D. 407. Some think the ending was adapted from 1 Chronicles 29.11, "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, And You are exalted as head over all."

Whatever it's origin, this liturgical ending to the Lord's Prayer proclaims a vitally important truth: It's all about Thine! God's relationship with us began and continues because of His love toward us. In the end it is always about Him... His kingdom, power and glory!"

Psalm 115 says it so well: "Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth."