postcard from sweden; o stands “o store gud”

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O stands “O Store Gud” – a hymn for millions around the world

“How Great Thou Art” – a Swedish folk song.

”O store Gud, när jag den värld beskådar,
Som du har skapat med ditt allmaktsord,
Hur där din visdom leder livets trådar,
Och alla väsen mättas vid ditt bord.

Då brister själen ut i lovsångsljud:
O store Gud! O store Gud!
Då brister själen ut i lovsångsljud:
O store Gud! O store Gud!”

The history of the hymn “How Great Thou Art” begins with Carl Boberg (1859-1940). He was a Swedish pastor, editor, and member of the Swedish parliament. Boberg was enjoying a nice walk when a thunderstorm suddenly appeared out of no where. A severe wind began to blow. After the storm was over, Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words to How Great Thou Art begin to form in his heart –O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made. . . Can you imagine what Boberg felt as he formed these words? There was such calmness after the fierce storm he could only utter those words of peace.

The melody is an old Swedish folk tune, unknown origin. Nobody seams to know.

This poem, titled O Store Gud (O Great God) was published in 1891 in Witness of the Truth, the weekly newspaper that Boberg edited. It was later translated in German. In 1927, it was published in a Russian version of the German text.

“How Great Thou Art” was translated by Stuart K. Hine, the English missionary to Ukraine. He found some version of the Russian text and sang it at an evangelistic meeting with his wife. He then translated the first three stanzas into English, which was sung at an evangelistic meeting in England during World War One. He published the first three verses (in both English and Russian) in 1949 in Grace and Peace, a Russian evangelistic paper which Hine edited. He later wrote the fourth verse as a triumphant message of life eternal.

How-Great-Thou-Art - michaelkravchuk com

“How Great Thou Art” was sung by George Beverly Shea at the London Crusade of the Billy Graham evangelistic team in 1954. He later sang this song over 100 times during a revival in New York at a Billy Graham Crusade. This caused the hymn to receive new attention in Sweden and America and be published in several songbooks.

How Great Thou Art -  elvis - songlyricseeker com

“How Great Thou Art” is a gospel album in 1967 with Elvis Presley. It was Presley’s second gospel album by His Hand in Mine from 1960 and was awarded a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance. Elvis are supposed to have said: Imagine that such a big song can come from a small country like Sweden.

It was voted the United Kingdom’s favorite hymn by BBC’s Songs of Praise. “How Great Thou Art” was ranked second (after “Amazing Grace”) on a list of the favorite hymns of all time in a survey by Today’s Christian magazine in 2001.

Today millions across the world continue to sing this beautiful song. Even if I’m not a believer as such – I love this hymn and the day my journey has come to an end … I hope somebody will make sure that this song is taken me that last distance.

How Great Thou Art
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

breadforbeggars.com

Here is the hymn performed by Life Church, Edmond, US – I think it’s so wonderful that this old folk melody has adapted to all styles of music – and still have kept its message so clear. When I was looking for a cloud there was; rap, country, hymn, rock, jazz, hip hop, cappella, blues, punk, choirs, piano solo, pop and orchestral – versions of the song.

Just wonderful how all ages can relate and find their way to perform this truly beautiful song and find their comfort.

I got help with information and text from wikipedia.org and All About God , thank you!

Images provided by and thanks to:
songlyricseeker.com michaelkravchuk.com/breadforbeggars.com

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8 thoughts on “postcard from sweden; o stands “o store gud”

    • Marilyn, sorry I have missed you comment here. I’m the same .. like church music and hymns too and I’m not a believer. Some great Christian music out there in both modern and classical.

  1. It is not accurate history behind the song. True a Swedish pastor wrote a poem but it was not until a British missionary heard the poem that he came up with the words to the song How Great Thou Art. It was this missionary that was walking thourgh the mountains that he was inspired to write the lyrics to this song.

    While ministering in the Carpathian Mountains, Hine found himself in the midst of a threatening storm. The thunder, as it rolled through the mountain range, was so awesome that it reminded Hine of the beautiful Russian hymn that had already become so dear to him. English verses began to form in his mind, and that is the inspiration to the song How Great Thou Art. The credit goes to both the Swedish minister and the British missionary, without both of them there would be no song.

    • The inspiration for the poem (1885) came when Pastor Carl Boberg was walking home from church near Kronobäck, Sweden, and listening to church bells. A sudden storm got Boberg’s attention, and then just as suddenly as it had made its appearance, it subsided to a peaceful calm which Boberg observed over Mönsterås Bay. It was first translated into German (1907) and Russian (1912) … The first literal English translation of O store Gud was by E. Gustav Johnson, then a professor of North Park College, Illinois. His translation of verses 1, 2, and 7-9 was published in the United States in the Covenant Hymnal as “O Mighty God” in 1925.
      No other country can’t claim this from us… !! But as you say it it had been for Carl Boberg and E. Gustav Johnson the world would have this beautiful hymn.

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