Hymn text by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788. View the full text of this hymn.

Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Lift up your heart! Lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Wycliffe, Luther, Tyndale, Calvin, Knox, Wesley.

The author of this hymn is not John Wesley, the founder of the movement in 18th century England that became Methodism and Wesleyanism—but it was his younger brother Charles, considered very much a leader alongside John in the movement. While John is known for his sermons, Charles is known for hymns.

And there is plenty to be known for. Charles Wesley composed over 6,000 hymns, including six in the LDS hymnbook. Rejoice, the Lord is King isn’t his most well-known hymn (that would probably be Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), but it is still published in over 600 different hymnbooks and sung to thirteen different tunes.

The brothers Wesley preached to the common people. The text of this hymn is as simple and straightforward as they come, and it applies equally to the aristocracy and the plowboy. The message is, simply, to rejoice—the Lord is king.

What this hymn does not do is spend a great deal of time giving reasons for us to rejoice. Including the repetition of the chorus, that sort of narrative only fills about 1/3 of the song. In all reality, the fact that Jesus Christ is our Savior is plenty of reason to rejoice, and the other 2/3 of the hymn is a call to action. Rejoice! Again, I say, rejoice!

We all have struggles, and challenges befall all of us—but ultimately, there is nothing that can happen to us in this life that isn’t dwarfed by the magnitude of the Savior’s atonement and our Heavenly Father’s plan for us. We each have an eternal nature and destiny. We’re instructed specifically in scripture to not worry about what mere mortal men can do to us; we have much to rejoice about that will make such things insignificant.

John and Charles Wesley knew they had much to rejoice about. They taught, at times under persecution from the Church of England and others, that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth to us individually; that only the grace of God has power sufficient to save; and that we can, in time, become “perfect in love.”

Rejoice! Give thanks and sing!

And we should know, even more, how much cause we have to rejoice. Living in the light of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have a living prophet and apostles; we have temples dotting the earth in which we make sacred covenants; we have scriptures in our homes, freedom to worship, and—above all—a divine elder brother, a Savior who died that we all may live!

Rejoice! Again I say, rejoice!

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