Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad (Joel 2, 3)

Scripture References

Thematically related:

Further Reflections on Scripture References

As supplements to Joel 2-3, see the entire Pentecost story in Acts 2, especially verses 17-21.

See a similar parallel in Habakkuk 3:16-19.

See also a contrast in Isaiah 24:4-13.

With reference to the “harvest” in stanza 1, note Christ’s words in John 4:34-38.

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

It is difficult to isolate certain confessional themes in each song about the Holy Spirit. Rather, there are several themes that are woven together in nearly all of these songs. The Holy Spirit is identified as one with the Father and the Son in the Holy Trinity; we plead for the coming and indwelling of the Spirit in our lives; the Spirit’s work is evident in creation and in God’s people throughout redemptive history; the Spirit calls and empowers the church for mission; and the Spirit is the source of power, fruit, and hope. These themes are expressed in confessional statements such as these:

  • Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 20, Question and Answer 53 testifies, “…the Spirit, with the Father and the Son, is eternal God.” In addition, the Spirit “makes me share in Christ and all his benefits, comforts me, and will remain with me forever.”
  • Our World Belongs to God has helpful references to these multiple themes of the Spirit’s work and ministry.
    • “Jesus becomes the baptizer, drenching his followers with the Spirit, creating a new community where Father, Son and Spirit make their home” (paragraph 28)
    • “The Spirit renews our hearts and moves us to faith… stands by us in our need and makes our obedience fresh and vibrant” (paragraph 29).
    • “God the Spirit lavishes gifts on the church in astonishing variety…equipping each member to build up the body of Christ and to serve our neighbors.”
    • “The Spirit gathers people from every tongue, tribe and nation into the unity of the body of Christ” (paragraph 30).
    • “Men and women, impelled by the Spirit go next door and far away…pointing to the reign of God with what they do and say” (paragraph 30).  
  •       Our Song of Hope also contributes very clearly regarding the Spirit’s work:
    • “The Holy Spirit speaks through the Scriptures…has inspired Greek and Hebrew words, setting God’s truth in human language, placing God’s teaching in ancient culture, proclaiming the Gospel in the history of the world” (stanza 6).

    •  “The Holy Spirit speaks through the church, measuring its words by the canonical Scriptures…has spoken in the ancient creeds, and in the confessions of the Reformation” (stanza 7).
    • “The Spirit sends [the church] out in ministry to preach good news to the poor, righteousness to the nations, and peace among all people” (stanza 16).
    • “The Holy Spirit builds one church, united in one Lord and one hope, with one ministry around one table” (stanza 17).
    • The Spirit calls all believers in Jesus to respond in worship together, to accept all the gifts from the Spirit, to learn from each other’s traditions, to make unity visible on earth” (stanza 17).

“…The Spirit works at the ends of the world before the church has there spoken a word” (stanza 20).


Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad (Joel 2, 3)


Our God, we come in humility, confessing who and what we are.
We are often unresponsive, for we are afraid.
When your Spirit speaks, we turn deaf ears,
for we fear what you might call us to do.
When your Spirit touches our lips,
we close our mouths,
embarrassed to speak your Word.
When the wind of your Spirit blows,
we close the windows of our hearts,
afraid the breeze will disrupt our ordered lives.
When the fire of your Spirit touches us,
we quench the flame, afraid of the new life it might bring.
Forgive us, O Lord. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 39:33]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Since we have been justified through faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
into this grace in which we now stand.
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
—Romans 5:1-2, 5, NIV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


You have given yourself to us, Lord.
Now we give ourselves for others.
You have sent your Holy Spirit and made us a gifted people.
As people of Pentecost,
we will serve you and proclaim your good news with joy.
Your glory has filled our hearts.
Help us to glorify you in all things. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 39:34]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Almighty God,
send us out filled with your life-giving Holy Spirit,
that we may proclaim your gospel through our words and deeds.
May your Spirit lead, equip, and empower us to
bring you glory now and always. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace in believing
so that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
—from Romans 15:13, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

May the Holy Spirit fall upon you, encompass you, and support you.
May the Holy Spirit transform you, lead you, and equip you.
May the Holy Spirit give you encouragement, strength, and comfort
to serve and worship our triune God both now and forever. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

We trust in God the Holy Spirit,
everywhere the giver and renewer of life.
The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith,
sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor,
and binds us together with all believers
in the one body of Christ, the church.
The same Spirit
who inspired the prophets and apostles
rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture,
engages us through the Word proclaimed,
claims us in the waters of baptism,
feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation,
and calls women and men to all ministries of the church.
In a broken and fearful world
the Spirit gives us courage
to pray without ceasing,
to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,
to unmask idolatries in church and culture,
to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,
and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.
In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,
we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks
and to live holy and joyful lives,
even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth,
praying, Come, Lord Jesus!
With believers in every time and place,
we rejoice that nothing in life or in death
can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
—from A Brief Statement of Faith
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
Spirit of fire,
who came as a rushing wind breathing life and hope
into dead bones and cold hearts,
we praise you for the comfort and guidance
you have given the church throughout the ages:
for your presence in creation, especially . . .
for changing hearts and guiding decisions as evidenced in . . .
for your work through the church universal . . .
for your presence in our worship . . .
for your sanctifying work in our lives . . .
Holy Spirit, we pray for your comfort and guidance
as we care for creation . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray in the name of the Father and the Son,
who live and reign together with you,
one God forever and ever. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad (Joel 2, 3)

Tune Information

e minor



Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad (Joel 2, 3)

Hymn Story/Background

Priscilla Wright based this song on Joel 2:18-32 and 3:17-21, passages that record the blessings God promises to his repentant people: the blessing of a bountiful harvest and the blessing of his Spirit. Because the apostle Peter used part of Joel's prophecy in Acts 2:16-21, the Spirit's outpouring becomes the controlling theme of this song and finds effective expression in the refrain. Wright wrote that she composed the song in 1971 as "an expression of joy for what the Holy Spirit was doing among the body of believers of which I was a member, [at] the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas." It became popular when The Fisherfolk recorded it (1972), and it was published in Sound of Living Waters: Songs of the Spirit (U.S. edition, 1974).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, Mi, August 17, 2012) was a member of the Psalter Hymnal 1987 Revision Committee, and was professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and was a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal.
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

Priscilla Wright (b. Dallas, TX, 1928) studied at community colleges in Denver and Dallas and also studied theology at Christ for the Nations Institute of Biblical Studies in Dallas. She worked in inner-city social services for the Church of the Redeemer in Dallas and was the house director for the Dallas Ronald McDonald House, a residence for families of hospitalized children. Wright cites her association with the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) as the most prominent influence in her life: “There was always the awesome awareness that God was orchestrating a new thing [in charismatic Christian worship], and in retrospect it is evident that the renewal which took place there was a catalyst for renewal in many other parts of the world."
— Bert Polman

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