For A Song

  • Nov. 23, 2006
  • #6409

Joni shares a hymn that she has sung in various cathedrals during her travels.

I have this game. Well, really, it's more than a game. For me, it's serious fun. In my travels around the world, when I will sometimes find myself in a great big, cavernous hall or cathedral; if it's empty and no one is around, I will fill the place with music by singing one particular hymn, I sing it all the time: "Now Thank We All Our God" and I sing it as loud as I can. Because I think it's important to remind these great cavernous places of who designed them, who is King of their space, and that they are great, these cathedrals only because God gave the ideas to the architects in the first place.

The first big, important place I remember singing this hymn was in a railway station at eleven o'clock at night with a few of my friends from high school choir. "Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, in Whom this world rejoices..." The second place was in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Then, my girlfriend and I sang it when we were in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and then I sang it when I was in Westminster Abbey in London. "Who from our mothers' arms, hath blessed us on our way, With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today." And some years ago when I toured the Sydney Opera House, someone said, "Hey Joni, want to sing something?" I could think of no better song to fill the wide-open spaces of that world-renowned, acoustically perfect concert hall than to sing my signature hymn. 

It's the perfect hymn to sing on Thanksgiving Day and I am especially thankful because just the other week I sang "Now Thank We All Our God." I sang it right in the middle of the lobby of our new Joni and Friends International Disability Center. Yep, the new home of our ministry, a brand new building for Joni and Friends is nearly completed. And the lobby, when you walk in it's this big, wide open space and you can look up and see the roof of the second floor. And it has wonderful acoustics. Especially right now since the building's not quite finished and no furniture or carpet is in yet. The words to a song, any song, bounce off the walls. And singing this wonderful hymn about Thanksgiving to God is a very appropriate thing to do. I am, all of us are, so grateful to God that Joni and Friends has a permanent home now, rather than paying rent for 25 years. 

But, anyway, back to my point. The thing is, everywhere you and I go, everywhere we visit, every place, every square foot of ground, is territory we can claim for a song for the God of all nations. So try it! The next time you're in a big empty building or even the great cathedral out-of-doors, would you declare his praise out loud in a psalm, a chorus, a hymn, or a shout? Better yet, come visit us in the New Year and join us at Joni and Friends in declaring both in word and in song, a heart overflowing with gratitude. "The one eternal God, Whom earth and Heaven adore; For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore." 

© Joni and Friends

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