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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Ode to Joy … symphony of the redeemed

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed.
Psalm 71:23

Ode: a lyric poem expressing a strong feeling of love or respect for someone or something, typically marked by exaltation of feeling and style.*

Ode to Joy: a poem by Friedrich Schiller in 1785, to celebrate the brotherhood of mankind under a benevolent creator. In 1824, Beethoven incorporated a choral version of Schiller’s poem into the final movement of his Ninth Symphony. We associate Ode to Joy with Henry Van Dyke’s 1907 Hymn to Joy set to the melody of Beethoven’s Ninth:*

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flow'rs before Thee,
Opening to the Sun above,

Philippians: Paul’s Ode to Joy. Paul begins his symphony softly, in prayer, with joy (1:4); advances the gospel cheerfully, in spite of his chains (1:18); underscores humble service with joyful encouragement (2:2); and finally rises in a resounding crescendo to rejoice, always, in the Lord (4:4).

New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says joy arises from: a present or assured possession of a future good, associated with “some form of the Hebrew gil, to ‘leap’ or ‘spin around’ with pleasure.” Exuberance can be the mark of joy: at the peak of joyful worship, we exalt the God of glory; wins in the War Room are marked by triumphant high-fives. But more often we are joyfully content under any circumstance, at peace deep within.

In her book, Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough, Kay Warren defines joy as: “the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”

In his personal redemption memoir, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis confesses joy to be “the surprise that awaits anyone who seeks life beyond the expected.”

The Bible is literally laced with a call to joy, ladies. Whatever the measure of your joy, this is the week to bubble it up to the surface. Lord, we whom You have redeemed, shout with joy in praise of You.

Nancy P
*online dictionary/references

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