"IN THE MORNING OF JOY"
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven…with a trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thess. 4.16)
INTRO.: Hymns have been written about most every Bible subject–praise to God the Father and Christ the Son, the Bible, prayer, various aspects of the Christian’s life, heaven, the need for salvation, the Lord’s supper, and so forth. Several songs have also been written about the Lord’s second coming, as taught in the scripture listed above, one of which is "In The Morning Of Joy" (#528 in Hymns of Worship Revised and #353 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Mrs. R. A. Evilsizer, about whom I have been able to locate no further information. The question that I have pondered is whether this was a woman whose own initials were R. A. or whose husband’s initials were R. A. I have seen hymns in older books copyrighted by L. M. Evilsizer, but I do not know if there is any connection. The Christian Hymnary, edited in 1972 by John J. Overholt, a Mennonite publisher, has a hymn, "The Time of the Harvest Is Nigh" with words by R. A. Evilsizer and music by J. Henry Showalter. Again, I cannot tell if this is the same person who wrote "In the Morning of Joy" just without the "Mrs." in front of her name, or if it might be her husband.
The tune (Morning of Joy) was composed by Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858-1924). He is best known as the composer of "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms." This hymn was published in 1895 and has been popular with us. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1938/1944 (New) Wonderful Songs edited by Thomas S. Cobb; the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal and the 1959 Hymnal both edited by Marion Davis; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
It specifically mentions three events that will accompany Christ’s return.
I. The first stanza talks about the resurrection from the dead: Acts 24.15
"When the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall arise,
And the splendors immortal shall envelop the skies,
When the angel of death shall no longer destroy,
And the dead shall awaken in the morning of joy."
A. When the Lord returns, "the trumpet shall sound": 1 Cor. 15.50-54
B. All the dead will be raised at the Lord’s coming: Jn. 5.28-29
C. The sounding of the trumpet and the raising of the dead will signal "the end": 1 Cor. 15.20-24
II. The second stanza implies the fact of judgment: Heb. 9.27
"When the King shall appear in His beauty on high,
And shall summon His children to the courts of the sky,
Shall the cause of the Lord have been all your employ,
That your soul may be spotless in the morning of joy?"
A. Even in the Old Testament God revealed that a day of judgment would come: Eccl. 12.13-14
B. This judgment will occur "when the King shall appear in His beauty on high" to sit on His throne of judgment: Mt. 25.31-46
C. Other passages tell us about the nature of this judgment–1. The standard: Jn. 12.48; 2. The judge: Acts 17.30-31; 3. The participants: Rom. 14.10-12; 4. The basis: 2 Cor. 5.10; 5. The results: Rev. 20.11-15
III. The third stanza speaks of our reunion in heaven: 1 Pet. 1.3-5
"O, the bliss of that morn when the loved ones we meet!
With the songs of the ransomed we each other shall greet,
Singing praise to the Lamb through eternity’s years,
With the past all forgotten with its sorrows and tears."
A. Jesus promises that when He comes back, He will gather us unto Himself: Jn. 14.1-3
B. It will be a time "when our loved ones we meet" (Sacred Selections, as usual, has changed this to "the saved ones"), assuming that our loved ones have been among Christ’s servants (or we have made Christ’s servants our loved ones), because all those who have faithfully served Christ will be there: Rev. 22.1-5
C. Some look for a thousand year reign on earth when Jesus returns, but the true hope of the Christian is everlasting life in heaven with the redeemed of all ages: Col. 1.5, Tit. 1.2, 1 Jn. 2.25
CONCL.: The chorus repeatedly points us toward that morning of joy, which phrase may be taken from Psa. 30.5.
"In the morning of joy, in the morning of joy, We’ll be gathered to glory in the morning of joy;
In the morning of joy, in the morning of joy, We’ll be gathered to glory in the morning of joy."
Sometimes, we may pillow our heads in the evening with hearts made so heavy by toils and cares that we wonder how we will ever make it through the night. But after several hours of peaceful rest, we usually find that things look a little brighter in the morning. In like manner, someday, after all the cares and toils of this life are over and Jesus has returned, there will be a final time when all will be made right and God’s people will experience eternal bliss "In The Morning Of Joy."