Surprised by joy no song can tell

Surprised by joy no song can tell. Erik Routley* (1917-1982). Written in July 1976 for a wedding at St. James’s Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, where Routley had been minister prior to his move to the USA. It was the first hymn Routley wrote in the USA. His copy contains the date 10 September 1976, which has been quoted in many sources, but the date on the service sheet is 4 September 1976, a Saturday and more likely correct (Routley Papers, Series V). The hymn celebrates the love of ‘parent, lover, friend’ and draws the parallel between human love and God’s love for humanity. Its first line is an echo of C.S. Lewis, whose work Routley greatly admired, and who had published Surprised by Joy in...

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