The Song That Makes The hearts Sing: How Great Thou Art

in HeartChurch3 years ago

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Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. – Plato

This is how the story unfolded in the life of the How Great Thou Art.

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How great thou art started out as a poem. Its first writer, Carl Boberg, was walking home one day when lightning flashed on the horizon and thunderclaps shook the air. Boberg, the Swedish writer and future politician, started running for his home. And the storm died down as he reached home.

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Boberg opened his windows, and his eyes caught the mesmerizing, pleasant vision of tranquility. The dangerous storm had died down to a breezing, fresh air. And the sky had become clearer than it ever was, and the birds started singing from the tree branches. He then heard the sound of the ringing church bells, which stirred up in his soul something deep and divine...

Boberg sat down in his chair, while his heart was still singing, and he wrote "O Store Gud," the poem that would eventually become "How Great Thou Art."

Boberg published the poem in a local newspaper, and he would be surprised to discover later that an unknown Swede put the poem to the tune of a folk music of the Swedes.

Multiplied versions of "O Store Gud" existed by the late 1800s. And by the early 1900s, it ultimately hopped the Swedish border and traveled to other countries.

The German, the Russian, and the English, through a series of events, shaped and refashioned "O Store Gud" closer and closer to "How Great Thou Art," whose now recognizable form was done by the English missionary Stuart Hine.


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"O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed."

How the song, "How Great Thou Art," got into India is still a mystery: isn't it amazing, by the way, that the song became popular in America only when it was brought to America from India?

Who in India were singing this song? In 1954, J. Edwin Orr, a British-American evangelist, heard in India the English version of "How Great Thou Art." He heard the song being sung by a Naga choir. (Nagas are an indigenous people in India's Northeast.)

From obscurity, the song had been pushed into its present, global popularity by the Mana Music, famed soloist George Beverly Shea of the Billy Graham's traveling crusade, and Elvis Presley, among many other artists and entities. That's what happened, once the song came to America from India.

This, my friends, is the story: firstly, Boberg's heart poured out something deep – something that will live on after him; something that will make everybody's heart sing – and, secondly, its impact started rippling... rippling across the ocean of humanity.

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