Hymn #274: Womb of Life, and Source of Being

Ruth C. Duck (b. 1947) created this 1986 text as an exploration of trinitarian theology, by which the church has sought to understand God for centuries.  It was developed during a class taught by Linda Clark and revised with help from Brian Wren in 1990.  The text includes both new and old names for God.

Ruth Duck, a seminary professor, has lectured and led workshops throughout North America on the subjects of worship and hymnody.  She has spoken before denominational and ecumenical groups, sharing what she has learned about the importance of liturgy and song for a vital and modern church.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) composed this tune, called here HYMN TO JOY, as the final chorus of his Ninth Symphony.  Beethoven was totally deaf when the work was first performed in 1824 in Vienna, Austria.  One of the soloists had to turn him around so he could see the enthusiastic response to the music he could not hear.

Beethoven was an accomplished pianist, first playing in public at age seven.  He went to Vienna to study with Haydn at the age of twenty-two and remained there for the rest of his life.  Beethoven composed some of his greatest works in his last, difficult years when he struggled with deafness and poverty.