Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is one of the crowning achievements of western classical music. Part of the last movement was adapted as a hymn that is still quite popular in churches even today. On Sunday's service at my church, we sang this hymn, and I was inspired to adapt the lyrics to more closely reflect my religious sensibilities (and to get rid of anachronistic language, such as "thee"). Here is the result.
Joyful, joyful, we proclaim you Lord of Life and fount of love,
hearts unfold like flowers before you, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of shame and sadness, drive our fear and doubt away;
giver of our vital gladness, fill us with the light of day.
You are giving and creating, ever blessing, ever blest,
well-spring of the joy of living, mother of all healing rest!
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to your jubilee.
Humans join the happy chorus; stars of morning take your part;
grace divine is reigning o'er us, telling us of wisdom's art.
Ever singing, move we onward, making peace in place of strife
joyful music leads us sunward in the glorious song of life.