God Reigns! Earth Rejoices!

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Stanza 1 expresses the message of Psalms 96-100.
When stanza 1 speaks of the fact that ”God will dwell among us”, we  hear reference to Immanuel from Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:20-23.
Stanza 2 speaks of the day when “mountains will shake and worthless idols will fall”. See Matthew 24:26-31, Luke 21:20-28, and II Peter 3:10-13. 

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

“Former lamentations now are songs of peace,” stanza 3 of the song says. This hopeful joy in Christ’s coming is found in Our Song of Hope, stanza 1: “God is the world’s true Hope,” and therefore “we are a people of hope” (stanza 1), “Jesus Christ is the hope of God’s world” (stanza 4), and it even makes clear that “our ascended Lord gives hope for two ages”—in the age to come and in this age (stanza 5).

Introductory/Framing Text

O God, our God, awesome and righteous, sovereign of all,
we have seen your power, justice, and love revealed in your Son, our Redeemer.
In him we joyfully praise you this day and eagerly await the day that is yet to come
when all the earth will see your glory. Amen.

Tune Information

c minor or modal


Hymn Story/Background

Psalm 97 is historically appointed for Christmas Day, so Michael Morgan prepared his text setting to fit a popular medieval French Christmas carol. It was first published in this combination in Psalms for All Seasons (2012). He provided the following background:
Martin Tel asked me to write a new setting of Psalm 97, combining the Old Testament imagery with some strong allusions to the Advent and Christmas anticipation and joy we have as New Testament Christians.
The old French carol, Noel Nouvelet, has both the minor tonality we associate with Jewish folk tunes, and the energy and excitement we have in the life-changing events which Jesus brings at his nativity, when God meets us face to face, shackles bread, chains of bondage cease, and “former lamentations now are songs of peace.”
— Michael Morgan

This fifteenth-century French carol is entitled NOËL NOUVELET for the original text. This melody was the inspiration for Marcel Dupré when composing his “Variations on a Noël.” 
— New Century Hymnal Companion

Author Information

Michael Morgan (b. 1948) is a church musician, Psalm scholar, and collector of English Bibles and Psalters from Atlanta, Georgia. After almost 40 years, he now serves as Organist Emeritus for Atlanta’s historic Central Presbyterian Church, and as Seminary Musician at Columbia Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Florida State University and Atlanta University, and did post-graduate study with composer Richard Purvis in San Francisco. He has played recitals, worship services, and master classes across the U. S., and in England, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Germany. He is author of the Psalter for Christian Worship , and a regular contributor in the field of psalmody (most recently to the Reformed collections Psalms for All Seasons and Lift Up Your Hearts, and the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God).
— Michael Morgan
Hymnary.org does not have a score for this hymn.