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Be Glad in the Lord and Rejoice is one of the popular hymns of all times. Scripted by Mary Servoss, not much is really documented about her activities as a Christian and hymn writer. She was basically and American stage and screen actress.
Born June 2, 1888, to Carlos A. Servoss and Mary (née Baker) in Chicago, her main career was positioned on the Broadway stage. Appearing on stage in Chicago, New York and London, she made her stage debut on stage at the Grand Opera House in Chicago playing a small part in Lorna Doone, 1905.
Her first appearance on the New York stage was the following year at the Fourteeth Street Theatre as Alice in Bedford’s hope and she appeared as Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice with David Warfield at the Lyceum, 1922. Her first appearance on the London stage was in 1925 at the Duke of York’s Theatre as the title character in De luxe Annie. She also managed summer stock companies in Michigan and Ohio playing Ophelia, Juliet, Beatrice, and Rosalind, 1911-16.
Having made a great impression as a veteran stage actress, she ventured into film making in 1940 and made over 20 films by the time of her last film in 1949. When not in the theatre her hobby was restoring old farmhouses.
She was said to have lived, taking care of her crippled grandmother for 18 years, and later took care of her mother, then her father, until he died. It is said that Fanny Crosby was Mary’s inspiration to write Gospel songs. Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns including Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Not much is known about the inspiration behind her hymns but juxtaposing her life with the lyrics of her songs, it could be deduced that the pains her parents and grandmother went through which saw her attending to them could be a major factor.
Her lyrics dwell on courage in pain, hope in despondence and confidence in the word of God. The hymn has a tremendous lyrical influence from Psalm 32:11 which says “Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!” One can’t be too far to believe that she encouraged herself in the Lord in her times of pains.
In the first stanza, Servoss says “All ye that are upright in heart; And ye that have made Him your choice, (can) bid sadness and sorrow depart.” Only those who locate their gladness in the Lord can navigate through the ocean of pain that the world is. God has not said we would live a life free of challenges. All He said is we are more than conquerors. That was her consolation when she closed her eyes in death in Los Angeles on November 20, 1968. She was aged 80.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice;
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice