Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought"1 (Lyrics)
To be born Welsh is to be born with music in your blood and poetry in your soul. – Welsh proverb
Welsh men's choirs are world-renowned and have become the most treasured and remarkable feature of Wales. Hymn singing there was closely tied with the Welsh Methodist revival of the late 18th century, and men and women found choral singing in their chapels to be a source of comfort and respite from the daily industrial grind of the coal mines.
Bryn Seion (Mount Zion), the last Welsh church on the west coast of North America, is located in Beavercreek, Oregon, USA, a tiny hamlet near Portland. The church holds an annual Gymanfa Ganu (hymn-singing festival) on the fourth Sunday of June. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Gymanfa Ganu — like most other similar public events — has been cancelled for a second year. Because I have a few drops of Welsh blood running through my veins (the surnames Llewellyn and Roberts in my family line evidence that), I love to take part in this festival. On a typical Gymanfa Ganu Sunday, this tiny country church is full to the rafters with the stalwart faithful lustily singing in four-part harmony. A couple of years ago, our director emphasized that we should especially pay close attention to the words that we were singing, since the depth and meaning of the words carries the beauty of the music.
She then drew our attention to the instruction at the top of the page to sing the hymn "in jubilant style". That certainly affects the manner in which one sings! Singing in jubilant style increases the energy, forcefulness, and excitement with which one expresses praise to God.
To be jubilant means to feel or express great happiness and triumph. We may not always feel very jubilant, however. In the dark times when we may wonder if God sees us or hears our prayers, we can trust His all-encompassing wisdom to guide our path. A heart attitude of gratitude and praise to God in all things is like a jubilant hymn of thanksgiving raised to Him. We could call this deep, settled peace a sort of quiet, inner jubilation.
Scripture also exhorts all of creation to jubilantly praise God. Not only are His people exhorted to praise Him with voices and instruments, but nature — the sea, the fields, the trees, and even the stones — can magnify God.
1 Chronicles 16:32 – Let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them! (NIV)
Psalm 96:12b – Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. (NIV)
Luke 19:40 – "I tell you," [Jesus] replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." (NIV)
Even though we are living in troubling, uncertain times, let's praise God "in jubilant style", knowing that our praise honours Him!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we have so much for which to jubilantly praise You. May we put aside the fears and concerns of our everyday life as we focus on all that You have done for us, and jubilantly give thanks to You, our loving, caring heavenly Father. Amen.