Saturday, January 24, 2009

Marika Lee's Hymn & Scripture Study Sundays

"Next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise. The gift of language combined with the gift of song was given to man that he should proclaim the Word of God through music." --Martin Luther

Below you see the above quote hanging on my wall, complete with dust, a shadow, and a reflection of me as I take the picture.

I have the quote hanging on my wall because I like the reminder the message brings. I think that the easiest way to draw close to God is through music.

At Christmas time we sing every night as a family during our countdown to Christmas. Each year I have thought it would be wonderful if we could keep doing this throughout the year. Somehow we do well for a week or two and then taper off, only to be reminded of the idea again the following Christmas. I thought I would try something a little different this year. Rather than trying for a family sing-a-long every day, how about trying at least once a week? I think this seems more likely to succeed.

We study scripture and have family prayer together each night, but I decided to choose Sunday as our day that we interrupt our regular routine. On this day, we'll study scriptures associated with a song instead. I also plan to present a little background on the song we sing.

I deemed it appropriate to begin with something Swedish. {I am 1/2 Swedish and very much attached to my Swedish heritage.} This is why I chose the hymn How Great Thou Art for my first selection. Oftentimes I will include music with the song I choose, but I can't do that this time due to copyright restrictions on this song. Hopefully you have a hymn book yourself, or a good memory.

Scriptures for this song:
Psalms 8:3-9 David here recounts numerous wonders of the Lord and His amazing mercy towards each on of us.
Psalms 9:1-2 Here David speaks of his own desires to praise and rejoice in the Lord. How Great Thou Art song lyrics seem to be derived from David’s message.
Mosiah 4:5-13 In King Benjamin’s speech, he reminds us all of our own unworthiness without the Lord and of God’s great goodness. Each of us should remember to rejoice and be filled with the love of God.

Various facts:
English text by Stuart K. Hine, 1899
Original Swedish text by Reverend Carl Boberg “O Store Gud” or “O Mighty God”
Tune Swedish folk medley

The story behind the song:
This hymn originated in Sweden. The author apparently wrote the song while walking home in during a thunderstorm after church services. It was translated into a few different languages when English missionaries, Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K. Hine, heard the hymn in Russia. They wrote up an English version of the song using 3 verses. After WWII, eastern European refugees were flooding into England looking to find a new home. It was at this time that the 4th verse was written, receiving inspiration for the words after listening to the wondering questions about home from these people who were without one.

I am doing a little research online to find these things out. I also have a book entitled "Our Latter-day Hymns The Stories and the Messages" by Karen Lynn Davidson from which I am finding information on these songs. If you want more info, the aforementioned book and the internet search engines can get you much more than the little bit I shared.

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