"SUNSHINE IN MY SOUL"
"For God, who commanded the light to shine…hath shined in our hearts…" (2 Cor. 4.6)
INTRO.: A gospel song which speaks of the light that God makes possible to shine in our hearts is "Sunshine in My Soul" (#425 in Hymns for Worship Revised and #575 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920). A teacher in Philadelphia, PA, she was attempting to correct an unruly student who struck her across the back with a heavy slate. After she had spent six months in a cast recovering from this injury, her physician at last permitted her to go for a short walk in a nearby park on a warm spring day. Her heart overflowed with joy and after her walk, she produced this song, among her first. The tune (Sunshine) was composed by John Robson Sweney (1837-1899). The song was published in the 1887 songbook Glad Hallelujahs edited by Sweney and William James Kirkpatrick. The original began each stanza with "There’s sunshine" but many books have changed it to "There is sunshine." Later, Mrs. Hewitt authored many more songs, including "A Blessing in Prayer," "For Christ and the Church," "Give Me Thy Heart," "More About Jesus," "Stepping In The Light," "When We All Get to Heaven," "Who Will Follow Jesus?", and "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?"
Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Sunshine in My Soul" appeared in the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 edited by E. L. Jorgenson; the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater; 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; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; 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.
This song overflows with joy that results from God’s light in our lives.
I. Stanza 1 says that God causes sunshine in our souls
"There’s sunshine in my soul today, More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky, For Jesus is my light."
A. God created the physical sun that gives light to the earth: Gen. 1.14-19
B. However, the idea of sunshine here is used to represent the warmth of God’s love that can fill the heart: Rom. 5.5
C. The One who brings this light into our lives is Jesus because He is the light of the world: Jn. 8.12
II. Stanza 2 says that God causes music in our souls
"There’s music in my soul today, A carol to my King,
And Jesus, listening, can hear The songs I cannot sing."
A. This music is an expression of the joy and gladness that is in our hearts: Jas. 5.13
B. Jesus listens to and hears such songs because they are being sung unto the Lord: Col. 3.16
C. However, even when our voices may not be able to express what is in our hearts, Jesus can still hear because He knows what is in us: Jn. 2.24-25
III. Stanza 3 says that God causes springtime in our souls
"There’s springtime in my soul today, For when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart, The flowers of grace appear."
A. Springtime, referred to in the Bible as seedtime, is a time of renewal and growth: Gen. 8.22
B. Thus, it is used in the song as a symbol of spiritual renewal and growth with peace and joy; the dove has been associated with peace ever since the time of Noah: Gen. 8.8-12
C. Just as flowers are sources of beauty and enjoyment, so God’s grace is a source of spiritual beauty and enjoyment to our souls: Acts 20.32
IV. Stanza 4 says that God causes gladness in our souls
"There’s gladness in my soul today, And hope and praise and love,
For blessing which He gives me now, For joys laid up above."
A. Whatever true gladness can accompany our lives, God is the ultimate source of it because He gives us hope and praise and love: Ps. 4.7
B. We can be glad for the blessings which He gives us here, not only the material blessings of life but the spiritual blessings in Christ: Eph. 1.3
C. And beyond this, we can be glad for the joys that He has laid up for us above in heaven: Col. 1.5
CONCL.: The chorus continues to express the peace and joy that the light of Christ brings:
"O there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine, While the peaceful, happy moments roll;
When Jesus shows His smiling face, There is sunshine in my soul."
There is much in this life to bring sadness and sorrow, but as long as I allow Jesus Christ to be in control of my heart, I can truly say that there is "Sunshine in My Soul."