Bernice Three Column

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Serene Sunday - How Great Thou Art

It's hard to believe that this is the last Sunday of April.  How time flies.

How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art" is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940) in Sweden in 1885. The melody is a Swedish folk song. It was translated into English by British missionary Stuart K. Hine, who also added two original verses of his own composition.

The inspiration for the poem came when Boberg was walking home from church near Kronobäck, Sweden, and listening to church bells. A sudden awe-inspiring storm gripped Bobergs attention, and then just as suddenly as it had made its violent entrance, it subsided to a peaceful calm which Boberg observed over Mönsterås Bay. According to J. Irving Erickson: Carl Boberg and some friends were returning home to Mönsterås from Kronobäck, where they had participated in an afternoon service. Nature was at its peak that radiant afternoon. Presently a thundercloud appeared on the horizon, and soon sharp lightning flashed across the sky. Strong winds swept over the meadows and billowing fields of grain. The thunder pealed in loud claps. Then rain came in cool fresh showers. In a little while the storm was over, and a rainbow appeared. When Boberg arrived home, he opened the window and saw the bay of Mönsterås like a mirror before him From the woods on the other side of the bay, he heard the song of a thrush. The church bells were tolling in the quiet evening.

It was this series of sights, sounds, and experiences that inspired the writing of the song. The poem is a paraphrase of Psalm 8.

Stuart K. Hines was a British Methodist minister who was born in London, England in 1899. In 1931, he heard the Russian transltion of the song and began using it in his evangelistic services. Eventually, he began re-writing the song and added his own verses. The most widely known verses are these:

O Lord my God!
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works
Thy hands have made.
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!  

Have a wonderful day!

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