God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Album: Olney Hymns (1779)

Songfacts®:

  • One of the most popular poets of the late 18th century, William Cowper (1731-1800) was a major influence on the Romantic poetry movement with his poems about everyday life and scenes of the English countryside.
  • Cowper and Anglican cleric John Newton both lived in the Suffolk village of Olney and were great friends. Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and they also run a weekly prayer meeting, for which they were in the habit of writing a new hymn to sing, some of which were included in their Olney Hymns collection.
  • The hymn "God Moves in a Mysterious Way" was originally a poem written by William Cowper in 1773 titled "Light Shining out of Darkness." It was included six years later in their Olney Hymns collection. The first line and title phrase is now a well-known saying used to justify unfortunate or inexplicable events.
  • The words were inspired by an experience of sheltering from a thunderstorm under an oak tree on Yardley Chase near Cowper's Olney home.
  • Also published in the same Olney Hymns collection was John Newton's classic tribute to God's mercy, "Amazing Grace."
  • Amy Grant sang a version of the hymn for her 2005 Rock of Ages... Hymns and Faith album. Her recording was a melody coupling the tune of the hymn with William J. Kirkpatrick's 1900 interpretation of Habakkuk 2:20,"The Lord is in His Holy Temple."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Grammar In Lyrics

Grammar In LyricsMusic Quiz

Lyrics don't always follow the rules of grammar. Can you spot the ones that don't?

Emilio Castillo from Tower of Power

Emilio Castillo from Tower of PowerSongwriter Interviews

Emilio talks about what it's like to write and perform with the Tower of Power horns, and why every struggling band should have a friend like Huey Lewis.

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Angelo Moore of Fishbone

Angelo Moore of FishboneSongwriter Interviews

Fishbone has always enjoyed much more acclaim than popularity - Angelo might know why.

Chris Isaak

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.

Kiss

KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.