Saturday, April 17, 2010

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

David and I went to the symphony last night. Beethoven's Ninth. With choirs from TCU, University Christian Church, and Southwestern Seminary--probably about 350 singers on stage behind the orchestra.

Oh! When they suddenly burst out with Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee (in German, but hey...) I thought I had died and gone to heaven. That amazing sound just filled Bass Hall. It was THRILLING!

[Peruvian-born Miguel Harth-Bedoya is credited with transforming the Fort Worth Symphony into a top-tier ensemble.]

After the concert, as we're walking to our parking garage, we encountered the street preachers on the corner. They're there every Friday night, shouting their hate-filled version of the gospel to all passersby. This picture is from GoogleImages, but it represents pretty well the intensity you feel coming from these guys.

Usually I just want to get away from them, but strangely last night I felt myself getting very angry. After having come from this truly sublime experience of Beethoven's Ninth that filled me with joy, touched my soul, and took me to the mountaintop, to then come out into the night and hear this filth filling the air -- it was horrible.

If you've never heard a street preacher, believe me, they are vile. There they are, running up and down the street, SCREAMING that we are worms! SCREAMING that we're all going to HELL and we're DAMNED unless we REPENT OF OUR SINS. REPENT! REPENT! REPENT!

In Ft. Worth there are usually four or five of them on this one corner -- I guess they do a tag-team thing, taking turns with one screaming and others accosting people with flyers. They don't look like the older guy in that picture I posted here; they appear to be in their 20s or 30s. Maybe they've had a huge conversion experience and have traded their addiction to drugs or alcohold for a religious addiction; perhaps I shouldn't criticize too harshly. I guess it was the juxtaposition last night of going from the sublime mountaintop to all that anger and hate and worm theology. David said we should've gone up and starting singing to them: JOYFUL JOYFUL WE ADORE THEE.

1.Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening 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!
2. All thy works with joy surround thee, earth and heaven reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery 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.
4. Mortals, join the mighty chorus which the morning stars began;
love divine is reigning o'er us, binding all within its span.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife;
joyful music leads us sunward, in the triumph song of life.


Terri (AKA Mompriest) said...

The one short year I lived in Ft. Worth (1971-72) I don't remember seeing these street preachers...but we do have them in Chicago - except they stand on an old milk crate with a megaphone and shout at really is sad that folks believe that bad theology...sigh. I agree, singing Joyful Joyful would have been a wonderful counterpoint to their vitriole....

Purple said...

What a contrast. I find it hard to find any "call" in those who demand that their image of God is the only image allowed.

robert said...

Interesting blog. The Lord Jesus, in His preaching and teaching, saved His harshest words for the arrogant religious hypocrites of His day. He always had a welcome for needy sinners "heard Him gladly." Those street preachers would do better to tell their hearers about the grace and mercy of God.

It was your quotation of Henry van Dyke's joyful hymn that caught my attention this morning (today being the 158th anniversary of his birth). Wish I could have been at the concert you describe!

If you enjoy reading about our hymns and their authors, I invite you to check out my daily blog on the subject, Wordwise Hymns.

And if you’ll excuse a brief “commercial:” If you do not have a good book on the subject of our Christmas carols, I encourage you to take a look at my own, Discovering the Songs of Christmas. In it, I discuss the history and meaning of 63 carols and Christmas hymns. The book is available through Amazon, or directly from Jebaire Publishing. (Might make a great gift too!)

cheap viagra said...

Very lucky you were because the best way to get relaxed is going to Beethoven's symphony, I feel so inspired when I listen it.m10m

Jonathan said...

The text in B9 is not "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." It's Schiller's "Ode to Joy," which isn't a sacred text at all.

Here is the English translation:

Joy, beautiful spark of divinity,
Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, burning with fervour,
heavenly being, your sanctuary!
Your magic brings together
what fashion has sternly divided.
All men shall become brothers,
wherever your gentle wings hover.

Whoever has been lucky enough
to become a friend to a friend,
Whoever has found a beloved wife,
let him join our songs of praise!
Yes, and anyone who can call one soul
his own on this earth!
Any who cannot, let them slink away
from this gathering in tears!

Every creature drinks in joy
at nature's breast;
Good and Bad alike
follow her trail of roses.
She gives us kisses and wine,
a true friend, even in death;
Even the worm was given desire,
and the cherub stands before God.

Gladly, just as His suns hurtle
through the glorious universe,
So you, brothers, should run your course,
joyfully, like a conquering hero.

Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss is for the whole world!
Brothers, above the canopy of stars
must dwell a loving father.
Do you bow down before Him, you millions?
Do you sense your Creator, o world?
Seek Him above the canopy of stars!
He must dwell beyond the stars.

"Joyful" is a 20th-century poem by Henry van Dyke that was set to Beethoven's music.