Life in Community

A Song for Valentine's Day

February 14, 2016 by

Listen on SoundCloud.

A young man in love, so overcome by joy that he’s writing poetry to his bride-to-be. Sound like Valentine’s Day?

This month’s song, “Comfort and Joy,” was originally written as a poem by Eberhard Arnold and enclosed in a love letter to his fiancé and wife-to-be, Emmy von Hollander, in June of 1907 during their three years of engagement prior to their wedding in 1909. Eberhard and Emmy’s engagement correspondence comprised, in total, nine hand-bound volumes containing more than eight hundred letters. Some translated selections from their correspondence are contained in the book Love Letters. An avid poet, Eberhard also wrote many poems for Emmy and often included one or two in his letters to her. Much of his (and Emmy’s) original poetry can be found in the book Poems and Rhymed Prayers.

Eberhard and Emmy Arnold
Eberhard and Emmy, 1909

Like many of the numerous other poems Eberhard wrote for Emmy, “Comfort and Joy” was put to music by Marlys Swinger. We chose this song for our February song of the month because it expresses a more significant Valentine’s message than Hallmark will ever offer as it communicates the pure joy of a relationship founded on the only true foundation, Jesus.

While the sung version of this poem contains only the three verses below, we have also included at the bottom the full original poem in German and English preceded by the beginning lines of the letter in which Eberhard enclosed it.

The following are the words to the song “Comfort and Joy” as sung by a quartet from the Fox Hill Bruderhof:

Die Freude macht uns stille.
Ja, Ihm vertrauen wir!
Zum Besten führt Sein Wille,
Bei dir wie auch bei mir!

So sind wir immer fröhlich!
Wir sind uns niemals fern.
Wir wissen uns so selig
In unserm treuen Herrn!

Ganz glücklich sind wir beide,
Denn uns gehören wir,
In Freuden wie im Leide,
Ich dir und du ganz mir!

Our joy brings peace in Jesus;
We trust in Him alone.
We know the way He’s leading
Is best for each of us.

So we are always joyful,
Close bound forevermore.
We know each one is blissful
In Him, our faithful Lord.

Each one lives for the other:
Our happiness is there.
In joy or any sorrow,
Our lives shall be as one.

 

 

photos of the original poem in Eberhard's handwriting
The original handwriten poem Eberhard sent to Emmy

Breslau, June 2, 1907

My Emmychen!
The enclosed verses are meant to give you a share in my joy in the Lord and in you. I am now quite peaceful again and happy in the will of my Lord….

Trost und Freude!

Nun ist sie fern von mir!
Doch sind die Herzen nah!
Was ich durchlebe hier,
in ihr bald auch geschah!

So sind wir völlig einig,
in eins verschmolzen ganz,
du mein und ich ganz deinig,
du, meines Lebens Kranz!

Schwer hab ich dich vermisst!
Doch bald brach durch der Stern:
Uns führet Jesus Christ!
Wir haben doch den Herrn!

Die Freude macht uns stille.
Ja, ihm vertrauen wir!
Zum Besten führt sein Wille,
bei dir wie auch bei mir!

Erst war mir bang und weh,
doch bald so frei und froh!
Im Geiste dich ich seh’:
Du fühlst ja ebenso!

So sind wir immer fröhlich!
Wir sind uns niemals fern.
Wir wissen uns so selig
in unserm treuen Herrn!

Wie sehnt’ ich mich sosehr!
Doch nun genügt es mir:
Du liebst mich mehr und mehr,
und ich gehöre dir!

Ganz glücklich sind wir beide,
denn uns gehören wir,
in Freuden wie im Leide,
ich dir und du ganz mir!

Comfort and Joy

You're far from me right now,
and yet our hearts are tuned
so that whate'er I think and feel
strikes your heart, too, and soon.

Yes, we are truly welded
together, closely bound:
I'm yours, and you are mine alone –
You are my life's true crown.

How sorely do I miss you,
and yet, there shines our star:
Jesus Christ, our leader
and Lord - he's never far.

Our joy sets us at rest.
We've given him our trust
and know the path he has in mind
is best for both of us.

First I was sad and anxious,
yet now I'm glad and free.
I see you now in my mind's eye
and know you feel like me.

So we'll always stay joyful
held close, in one accord,
and know our happiness and bliss
is grounded in the Lord.

How ardent was my longing!
Yet now I am content.
Your love for me is boundless,
and I'm yours without end.

Yes, we belong together,
and our joy is sublime.
In happiness or sorrow,
I'm yours – you're fully mine.


Find more Songs of the Month here.

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  • I listened to Comfort & Joy late in the evening on Valentine's day. The melody and singing were pleasant and mirthful. In a way it was a comfort to me. "Our lives shall be as one." That line was a nice way for me to end my day. Aside from passionate sexual union, to have that sense of purposeful unity, of culmination of shared experiences, as an aim or as an outcome of a loving relationship is truly extraordinary. Is it any wonder that joy and bliss were part of Eberhard & Emmy's lives, so bound in time and place and soul as they were. Thanks for sharing this Song of the month. As is my custom, I close bidding thee peace , goodwill.

    Raven Anthony Squire