What Difference Does Faith Make?
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Hymn History: How Great Thou Art
by Carl Gustav Boberg in 1885
excerpt from Wikipedia
The inspiration for the poem came when Boberg was walking home from church near Kronobäck, Sweden, and listening to church bells. A sudden awe-inspiring storm gripped Boberg’s attention, and then just as suddenly as it had made its violent entrance, it subsided to a peaceful calm which Boberg observed over Mönsterås Bay. According to J. Irving Erickson:
Carl Boberg and some friends were returning home to Mönsterås from Kronobäck, where they had participated in an afternoon service. Nature was at its peak that radiant afternoon. Presently a thundercloud appeared on the horizon, and soon sharp lightning flashed across the sky. Strong winds swept over the meadows and billowing fields of grain. The thunder pealed in loud claps. Then rain came in cool fresh showers. In a little while the storm was over, and a rainbow appeared.
When Boberg arrived home, he opened the window and saw the bay of Mönsterås like a mirror before him… From the woods on the other side of the bay, he heard the song of a thrush…the church bells were tolling in the quiet evening. It was this series of sights, sounds, and experiences that inspired the writing of the song.