Today we celebrate the life of Isaac Watts, a prolific writer, theologian and hymn writer who lived during the late 17th and early 18th Century in England. From a young age Watts began to express his dissatisfaction with the clumsy versification and passionless singing of the Psalms in church. Wearied by his lamentations his father challenged him to write some of his own. This simple invitation kick-started Isaac’s life’s work; Today he is remembered as one of the most celebrated hymnists in history, with many of his hymns still being sung in churches today. The words of ‘Joy to the World’ a popular Christmas carol are amongst Watts’ achievements. It was intended to be a modern interpretation of Psalm 98.
Take a moment to read through Psalm 98, then read over the words of the hymn. Can you see the similarities? Have a go at writing your own version a Psalm – how can you express the same ideas and experiences with language and imagery that is more familiar and meaningful to you.