Today’s word of hope comes from our own Jake Hill, Music Associate / Organist.

You’ve all been familiar with it all your lives- you’ve heard it in commercials, in movies, in television shows, on the radio, in your cars, in concerts and in the church- the wildly famous tune from Ludwig van Beethoven’s finale movement to his triumphant Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, is no doubt one of the most notable compositions known around the world.

Written in 1824 when he was completely deaf, Beethoven’s stoic melody has become ingrained in societies everywhere as a beloved masterpiece. To that end, it has found a solid home in Christian hymnody with the famous text “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”- a text not too far from that which was in the original score.

In the original setting, this symphony is classical in every sense- not particularly sacred, nor is it entirely secular. The Ode to Joy poem is based on uniting people of this world, ending division and creating bonds. Who would have thought, in the year of Beethoven’s 250th birthday anniversary, that this particular piece would be so important to us based on current events? In a year filled with planned (and canceled) celebratory Beethoven concerts, we have witnessed a great movement of people helping complete strangers in this dark and uncertain time- sights of communities shouting support for their healthcare workers from their homes, from musicians offering music to their neighbors, to food drives, and medical supply drives, to grocery runs, to electronic work platforms, to birthday parades, and the list goes on, and on. While there is still evidence of polarity, for a while, amidst the darkest time any of us have experienced in quite a while, humanity has triumphed with warm gestures. Friends, this great masterwork by Beethoven could be our theme song. Divisions have been lessened, unity has become more evident, kindness and love have streamed light across this world.

No matter what tomorrow holds, no matter what challenges lie ahead in these next months and years, remember the joy we have in Christ, our savior, and spread that joy throughout the world. For it is that shared joy that will make all the difference.

Enjoy now this, the finale movement, to Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony. This performance was recorded during the largest classical music festival in the world- the famed BBC Proms- amidst a crowd of 6,000 patrons, sung by a choir of 200 singers, played by a completely full orchestra and conducted by one of the foremost living Beethoven experts, Daniel Barenboim. Translations to the sung text are provided on-screen throughout the video. 


Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 9
Movement 4

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