HOW GREAT THOU ART
“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” –Psalm 8:9
A few years ago there was a survey among American Christians asking which hymn was their favorite. “How Great Thou Art” won hands down.
I like this hymn although it’s hard for an aging bass voice to reach those high notes. We sang this hymn at both my mother and father’s memorial services.
The original text was written in 1886 by a Swedish pastor named Carl Boberg. Boberg was a pastor, a journalist, and a member of the Swedish parliament. While visiting a beautiful country estate in SE Sweden, he was caught in a violent thunderstorm. As quickly as it came, the thunder and lightning dissipated, leaving clear, brilliant sunshine and birds resuming their chirping in the trees. Pastor Boberg was moved in adoration, and as he tells it, he fell on his knees in awe. Originally, he wrote nine stanzas to commemorate this experience.
Swedish congregations picked up the verse and began to sing it to an old Swedish folk tune. The text was translated into Russian, into German, and finally into English by the Reverend S.K. Hine and his wife, English missionaries to the Ukraine. The Reverend Hine wrote verse 4 himself.
In March, 1954 George Beverly Shea was given a copy of the song. He was in London to sing at the Billy Graham Crusade. We can’t think of “How Great Thou Art” without thinking of George Beverley Shea, who allowed that he had sung it more than 10, 000 times, and he added, “It never gets old.”
Praise is therapy and gratitude medicine for the soul. To sing this great hymn in the midst of distressing times and depressing circumstances enfuses us with poise and confidence.
I suggest you use these words as a mantra when you feel discouraged and downcast: “How great Thou art. HOW GREAT THOU ART!”
Before you leave this E Votional listen to Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill as they sang “How Great Thou Art” at the Country Music Awards in 2012.
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