Posted by: rcottrill | January 30, 2015

O Say, but I’m Glad

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Words: James Patrick Sullivan (b. _____, 1876; d. _____, 1948)
Music: Mildred Ellen Sullivan (b. _____, 1916; d. _____)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: Little is known about the Sullivans. They are father and daughter, and James Sullivan was apparently a pastor. Perhaps his daughter was the pianist in their church, but that is simply speculation. Together, they created a sprightly, joyous gospel song.

CH-1) There is a song in my heart today,
Something I never had;
Jesus has taken my sins away,
O say, but I’m glad!

O say, but I’m glad, I’m glad,
O say, but I’m glad!
Jesus has come and my cup’s overrun;
O say, but I’m glad!

There is certainly a great deal of “gladness” (joy and rejoicing) in the Word of God. Some form of the word “glad” is used in the Old Testament and New Testament 148 times.

Not surprisingly, many of these (forty-one) are found in the book of Psalms, since it is a book emphasizing the praise of God, and we are to “Serve the Lord with gladness; [and] come before His presence with singing” (Ps. 100:2). Our rejoicing relates to the blessings of God, and particularly His deliverance. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad (Ps. 126:3).

¤ “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place” (Ps. 31:7-8).

¤ (The following passage seems to represent a prophetic vision of Pentecost and the birth of the church.) “This was the LORD’S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice [or, let us rejoice] and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:23-24; cf. Matt. 21:42-44; Acts 4:10-12).

¤ “Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word” (Ps. 119:73-74).

CH-2) Wonderful, marvelous love He brings,
Into a heart that’s sad;
Through darkest tunnels the soul just sings,
O say, but I’m glad!

There is gladness in the New Testament too, especially surrounding the person of Christ, what He has done for us, and in the blessing of serving Him. For example:

¤ Gladness in His resurrection: “When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (Jn. 20:20).

¤ Gladness in the growth of the church: “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (Acts 11:23).

¤ Gladness in bringing glory to God in suffering: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Cor. 12:9).

¤ Gladness in the coming marriage supper of the Lamb: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready….Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7, 9).

The third stanza of the song seems awkward, poetically, and it is seldom used (see the Cyber Hymnal for the text). The final stanza is a gospel invitation for others to come to Christ and enjoy the gladness He brings.

CH-4) Won’t you come to Him with all your care,
Weary and worn and sad?
You, too, will sing as His love you share,
O say, but I’m glad!

1) What is there about Christ or the Christian life that causes you gladness today?

2) What are some things that will bring even greater gladness when Christ returns?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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