Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

The spirit of this song can come only from those who thankfully receive each day as a gift from God’s hand. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 44 teaches, “Life is a gift from God’s hand” which we receive thankfully “with reverence for the Creator...” (paragraph 44).

The call for God’s help in our daily living arises from those who are confident of his fatherly care; consider reading Belgic Confession, Article 13 and Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26.


Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory

Tune Information

E♭ Major
Meter D



Joyous Light of Heavenly Glory

Hymn Story/Background

An ancient Greek evening hymn known as the Phos Hilaron dates from as early as the third century, sung ever since in vespers services in many Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran liturgies, especially in monastic communities that still gather for worship every evening. Other older English texts based on the Phos Hilaron have begun, “O Gladsome Light,” “O Radiant Light,” and “Hail, Gladdening Light” among many others (The word “hilarity” comes from the Greek “Hilaron”). Marty Haugen’s evening hymn is new, but rooted in that ancient text and tradition; his hymn is somewhat unusual for him in being set to such a traditional meter, and it even sounds more “classic” than many of his other songs. Features retained from the original Greek text are not only the many references to light, but also the Trinitarian language in stanza 3. This setting was prepared for Holden Village, an ecumenical Christian renewal and retreat center in Washington State with a long-standing relationship to the Lutheran church. The hymn was part of a complete service of evening prayer, Holden Evening Prayer, published by GIA Publications, Inc. in 1990. 
— Emily Brink

Author and Composer Information

Marty Haugen (b. 1950), is a prolific liturgical composer with many songs included in hymnals across the liturgical spectrum of North American hymnals and beyond, with many songs translated into different languages. He was raised in the American Lutheran Church, received a BA in psychology from Luther College, yet found his first position as a church musician in a Roman Catholic parish at a time when the Roman Catholic Church was undergoing profound liturgical and musical changes after Vatican II. Finding a vocation in that parish to provide accessible songs for worship, he continued to compose and to study, receiving an MA in pastoral studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota. A number of liturgical settings were prepared for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and more than 400 of his compositions are available from several publishers, especially GIA Publications, who also produced some 30 recordings of his songs. He is composer-in-residence at Mayflower Community Congregational Church in Minneapolis and continues to compose and travel to speak and teach at worship events around the world. 
— Emily Brink

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