I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

The Only Acceptable “Sunshine Song”

In the LDS hymnbook, the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a preface that states:

The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord.
Some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns. Hymns move us to repentance and good works, build testimony and faith, comfort the weary, console the mourning, and inspire us to endure to the end.

There is one “Sunshine Song” that, in my opinion, fulfills the First Presidency description:

There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today

1. There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright
Than glows in any earthly sky,
For Jesus is my light.

Oh, there’s sunshine, blessed sunshine
When the peaceful happy moments roll.
When Jesus shows his smiling face,
There is sunshine in the soul.

2. There is music in my soul today,
A carol to my King,
And Jesus listening can hear
The songs I cannot sing.

3. There is springtime in my soul today,
For when the Lord is near,
The dove of peace sings in my heart,
The flow’rs of grace appear.

4. There is gladness in my soul today,
And hope and praise and love,
For blessings which he gives me now,
For joys “laid up” above.

This song builds faith by teaching us to view Jesus as our light, that when our lives our near Christ we have peace and grace, and that we should hope and praise and love God for our current and future blessings.

Let’s look at some of the non-canonical “Sunshine songs.”

You Can Make the Pathway Bright

1. You can make the pathway bright,
Fill the soul with heaven’s light,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Turning darkness into day,
As the shadows fly away,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

If there’s sunshine in your heart,
You can send a shining ray
That will turn the night to day;
And your cares will all depart,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

2. You can speak the gentle word
To the heart with anger stirred,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
Tho it seems a little thing,
It will heaven’s blessings bring,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

3. You can do a kindly deed
To your neighbor in his need,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And his burden you will share
As you lift his load of care,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

4. You can live a happy life
In this world of toil and strife,
If there’s sunshine in your heart;
And your soul will glow with love
From the perfect light above,
If there’s sunshine in your heart today.

While this hymn does move us towards good works to comfort the weary and console mourning, there is NO MENTION OF GOD!!! Except with a brief mention of “heaven’s light”, any humanist, agnostic, or atheist could sing this work song! While I firmly believe that God DOES want us to do the things listed in this hymn, it’s certainly an incomplete sermon. The focus is so firmly on what we do in this hymn, there’s no mention or place for God. And this incomplete sermon can place an incorrect emphasis on the doing of the church rather than the good news of the Gospel.

Today, While the Sun Shines

1. Today, while the sun shines, work with a will;
Today all your duties with patience fulfill.
Today, while the birds sing, harbor no care;
Call life a good gift; call the world fair.

Today, today, work with a will;
Today, today, your duties fulfill.
Today, today, work while you may;
Prepare for tomorrow by working today.

2. Today seek the treasure better than gold,
The peace and the joy that are found in the fold.
Today seek the gems that shine in the heart;
While here we labor, choose the better part.

3. Today seek for goodness, virtue, and truth,
As crown of your life and the grace of your youth.
Today, while the heart beats, live to be true,
Constant and faithful all the way through.

The same is true for the preceding “hymn.” There’s no mention of God, and it is an incomplete sermon.

Scatter Sunshine

1. In a world where sorrow
Ever will be known,
Where are found the needy
And the sad and lone,
How much joy and comfort
You can all bestow,
If you scatter sunshine
Ev’rywhere you go.

Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing day.
Scatter sunshine all along your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing day.

[Chorus Alto, Tenor, and Bass.] Scatter the smiles and sunshine all along over your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing, passing day.
Scatter the smiles and sunshine all along over your way.
Cheer and bless and brighten
Ev’ry passing day.

2. Slightest actions often
Meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily
Little kindly deeds.
Oh, what care and sorrow
You may help remove,
With your songs and courage,
Sympathy and love.

3. When the days are gloomy,
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world’s repining
With a courage strong.
Go with faith undaunted
Thru the ills of life;
Scatter smiles and sunshine
O’er its toil and strife.

So, I’m suggesting that we finish these sermons so that instead of merely a pep-talk, they actually become prayers. Maybe if we include the gospel in these hymns I would enjoy them (instead of loathing them).


September 23, 2009 - Posted by | Religion

1 Comment »

  1. All things that are of light or good feeling, is part of God… God is in and through all things, and his spirit is relevant of all things which cause an uplift in the spirit. If you praise the beautiful nature of earth in a hymn, you are praise a sacred thing that is of God. One way to recognize the spirit of Christ is a light, joyful feeling. A good way to look at it is that, sunshine in your heart IS the spirit of God, therefore it is of God. It doesn’t have to say the word “Lord” specifically for the hymn to carry a message of praises to the Lord or for it to come from the lord or to feel the spirit of the lord. Anything “of good report we seek after these things” A hymn can teach you how to feel the spirit of Christ and/or to follow the articles of faith or other gospel principals so you can become more like Christ. If a hymn on how to become more like Christ or how to feel his spirit isn’t praising the Lord then I don’t know what is. Anything that lifts the spirit is of God. Think of this like moving past the law of Moses and into the spirit of the law so-to-speak. Trust the prophets. If the hymn creates a feeling of the spirit, then it is fulfilling a useful purpose. The spirit is in and through all things that are worthy of its presence. The tabernacle choir sang You Can Make the Pathway Bright at this last conference, and I felt the spirit so strongly I cried. Hence, the purpose of the spirit, and the purpose of a hymn.
    Thought this might help 🙂 take care

    Comment by Alisha | April 4, 2012 | Reply

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