How Auld Lang Syne Was Transformed Into A Christian Hymn And Then Into The National Anthem Of North Korea…And How You Can Help Transform It Back

WLO_worshippingThe 100 Days of Worship with the North Korean Underground Church campaign comes to a rousing finale on New Year’s Eve with the singing of a song which enjoys perhaps the most diverse popularity of any song ever written, drawing acclaim equally from North Korean dictators to Scottish pub crawlers to far-flung missionaries…though for very different reasons and in very different iterations.

J.K. Gayle’s Whose Auld Lang Syne? is a nice primer on the background of this, the second most popular song in the world behind Happy Birthday.

One note to add to Gayle’s fine post is that the North Korean national anthem, which today doesn’t sound anything at all like Auld Lang Syne, actually has its origin in the song, though the lyrics and then the tune were ultimately changed to become more North Korean. (You can hear something a little closer to the original Korean version here–quite a bit more beautiful than what you may hear warbled out at midnight later this week.)

But for Christians the most interesting and moving version of the song may be this one, written by missionary Amos Sutton in 1833. Though he wrote it with Northern England in mind, we think it speaks even more appropriately of North Korea and our underground brothers and sisters there–which is why we made this the hymn for the 100 Days campaign.

So even if you were not able to join us for the first 99 days of the campaign, I hope you’ll join us in prayerfully remembering North Korean Christians at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve by singing this version of the song.

Hail! sweetest, dearest tie that binds
Our glowing hearts in one;
Hail sacred hope, that tunes our minds
To harmony divine.

It is the hope, the blissful hope
Which Jesus’ grace has giv’n;
The hope when days and years are passed,
We all shall meet in Heav’n.

What though the northern wintry blast
Shall howl around thy cot,
What though beneath an eastern sun,
Be cast our distant lot;

Yet still we share the blissful hope!
Which Jesus’ grace has giv’n;
The hope when days and years are passed,
We all shall meet in Heav’n.

Until we all shall meet in heaven, Happy New Year from Mrs. Foley and me and everyone at Seoul USA.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
This entry was posted in 100 Days of Worship in the Common Places, North Korea, Worship and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Auld Lang Syne Was Transformed Into A Christian Hymn And Then Into The National Anthem Of North Korea…And How You Can Help Transform It Back

  1. You left off my favorite verse:

    From Burma’s shore, from Afric’s strand, From India’s burning plain,
    From Europe, from Columbia’s land, We hope to meet again.

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