The classical piece was re-interpreted to be a song of Worship and praise to the Lord Jesus. That is the Amazing thing, to see people openly and publicly singing about and to Jesus!
“Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” is a poem written by Henry van Dyke in 1907 with the intention of musically setting it to the famous “Ode to Joy” melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven‘s final symphony, Symphony No. 9.
Van Dyke wrote this poem in 1907 while staying at the home of Williams College president Harry Augustus Garfield. He was serving as a guest preacher at Williams at the time. He told his host that the local Berkshire Mountains had been his inspiration. The lyrics were first published in 1911 in Van Dyke’s Book of Poems, Third Edition.
Van Dyke wrote of this hymn:
These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee (or You), God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to (or Hail Thee as) 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 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,
Singing [sometimes "Chanting"] bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
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.
Mortals, join the happy (or mighty) chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us [or Love divine is reigning o'er us in some modern day hymnals], brother love binds man to man. ( binding all within its span win the United Methodist Hymnal)
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life .
Note: The final stanza is omitted in some recent hymnals.
The foregoing are altered lyrics as they appear in many, if not most, hymnals. Below are the original lyrics as Van Dyke wrote them:
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, God of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
Opening to 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 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,
Floweringmeadow, 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..
Mortals join the mighty chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father-love is reigning o’er us,
Brother-love binds man to man.
Ever singing march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife;
Joyful music lifts us sunward
in the triumph song of life!