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Sing with All the Saints in Glory

posted May 20, 2014, 5:45 PM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated May 28, 2014, 9:17 AM ]
The author of this hymn, William Josiah Irons, was born into an English family who just happened to be good friends with John Newton, the Christian convert who wrote Amazing Grace. Like “Uncle John”, he became an Anglican cleric and hymn writer, and in 1873 published this hymn in his Psalms and Hymns for the Church

Perhaps one of the reasons for its popularity can be traced to its very recognizable tune. Ludwig van Beethoven originally composed this melody in 1824 for a full chorus in the fourth movement of his final symphony, Symphony No. 9; using the text of J.C.F. von Schiller’s Ode to Joy. By mid-century, this main theme had been adapted as a hymn tune, and has appeared as Alleluia! Alleluia!; Christ is Risen! Shout Hosanna!; Christ, Whose Purpose Is to Kindle; Come, O Holy Spirit; Fishermen Are Sailing Homeward; God has Spoken by His Prophets; God of Love, Embrace Your People; Himno de la Alegria; Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; Praise the Lord, Ye Heavens and Tell It! Tell it Out with Gladness.

The tune was adopted as the Anthem of Europe by the Council of Europe in 1972, and subsequently the European Union. It’s been used in a number of other contexts: notably the Beatles second film HELP!, Stanley Kubrick's 1971 film A Clockwork Orange and in the Die Hard film franchise. On television, a version was used as the theme song for Everybody Loves Raymond. Recently, it’s been used in the puzzle video game Peggle. It’s also been used as a closing theme for both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

This hymn text is one of great praise, praising God not for just the things that we are given here on earth, but also for all of the glories we are promised in heaven above. So sing! Sing with wonder and grandeur! Sing in glory! With all the Saints! Sing the resurrection song…