Be jubilant, my feet

Be jubilant, my feet!

I’m about to do something horrible. I apologise. Really.

Do you know The Battle Hymn of the Republic? Yes, I’m sure you do. You maybe know it as ‘Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!’ though. Got it?

There are many versions of this hymn – one dating from the days of corporal punishment in schools goes:

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!
Teacher hit me with the ruler
The ruler snapped in half
And we all began to laugh
And I won’t go to school no more.

Have you got the song stuck in your head, yet? Give it a while, you will have. I’ve had it stuck in mine ever since my brother posted the word for this week’s One Word At A Time (OWAAT) blog carnival. Thanks, Pete. And sorry everyone else, for doing the same to you!

What does the word ‘jubilant’ have to do with The Battle Hymn of the Republic, though? Well. Once upon a time I read a children’s book. I can’t remember which book, but it involved a little girl with a younger sister. In said book, the younger sister was singing The Battle Hymn, but could only remember one line, so sang it over and over again as they skipped down the road. She also had a lisp. So now that tune, and the word jubilant, always put this line in my head, ad nauseum:

Oh be thwift my thoul to anther Him, be jubilant my feet.

Because she didn’t know any other words, I don’t know any other words either, at least to that verse. If you want to find them, they’re freely accessible online, just Google it (other search engines are available)(sorry, British in-joke!).

The point, though (yes, there is one!), is that ‘jubilant’ is not a word you hear very often.

I feel pretty jubilant today, because yesterday I finished Jeff Goins’ 15-day writing challenge. Through following his daily blog posts packed with exhortations and exercises I have not only regained some of my creative spark, but have met a whole new community of online writing friends who have been massively encouraging of my work, and who have written some great stuff themselves.

I’m pretty sure that’s not why Peter chose the word, though. I suspect it had more to do with The Queen’s recent Diamond Jubilee celebrations. There was indeed great jubilation around the nation as we celebrated the way Her Majesty has served her country, and us its citizens, so well for 60 years – and shows no sign of slowing down.

It’s a funny word, really. Although it really only means joyful (it comes from the Latin for ‘shout or whoop’ according to, to me it has always had a sense of joyous relief, denoting some sort of achievement or perhaps release.

In the verse of the Battle Hymn, though, it speaks of the joy of responding to God’s call on your life. God is pictured ‘sifting out the hearts of men before his judgement seat’, and the singer urges his soul to respond quickly, and to ‘march on’ joyfully in the cause to which it has been called.

I was jubilant to finish the writing challenge yesterday, but perhaps I should also describe myself as ‘jubilant’ when I’m in the process of doing the thing I know I have been called to. For me that’s writing. I love it, but I all too often find excuses to drag my heels and procrastinate doing it. The writing challenge helped me snap out of that, maybe this song will help me stick to it!

Be swift my soul to answer Him, be jubilant my feet indeed.


This post forms part of the One Word at a Time blog carnival hosted by Why not head over there and see how others have interpreted the word ‘Jubilant’?

17 Comments On This Topic
  1. islandsofmysoul
    on Jun 26th at 3:11 pm

    Fabulous post Jennie! Your last paragraph and quote says it all! I am feeling kinda a jubilant, too, as because of Jeff Goins, I have accomplished more than I thought I was capable of. We rock, huh?

  2. lisarrrr
    on Jun 26th at 5:28 pm

    Nice way to use the word jubilant. And I also knew that other version of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. 🙂 Now to keep up the pace with what Jeff started.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jun 26th at 5:47 pm

      Thanks!! Did you really know that verse? How amazing!

      Yes, I can already feel myself slacking off. Need to put a proper (sustainable) schedule in place, to trick my brain into thinking in a writing-y way!

      • lisarrrr
        on Jun 26th at 6:00 pm

        I know what you mean. Managing okay with the writing right now as it is summer, and I’m not in full homeschool mode with my kids. Told my husband that I will probably be getting up earlier come August though.

  3. Peter P
    on Jun 26th at 8:30 pm

    Glory, Glory Hallelujah,
    Teacher hit me with a ruler…

    Now you’ve got that stuck in my head.

    Thanks, Jen.

    All I can say to you is, “Lemon tree very pretty and it’s flowers very sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jun 26th at 8:32 pm

      Aaargh!!’ I guess I asked for that. 🙂

      • Jennie Pollock
        on Jun 26th at 10:22 pm

        Ps, my stray apostrophe was a typo that I didn’t notice sneak in – perhaps it was trying to keep yours company!!

  4. lonistel
    on Jun 27th at 6:15 am

    I enjoyed reading this, and did LOL! 🙂 And I love the verse, Be swift my soul to answer Him, be jubilant my feet indeed.

    Someday we will be FOREVER jubilant – no ending – no tears – nothing to steal it away! THEN we will REALLY know what this word means!

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jun 27th at 7:04 am

      Indeed! Thanks for stopping by, and for your encouragement.

  5. Joanne Norton
    on Jun 27th at 9:05 pm

    Hadn’t thought of that song for some time, just b/c time keeps kicking us other directions in music, BUT it IS one of my favorites. The wording is so specific for our present-day walking with the Lord and our future forever with Him. Made me start singing… my head is just filled with it now. Thanks.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jun 27th at 9:12 pm

      Thanks Jo! I hope you’re still happy when it’s stuck in your head in 3 days’ time…!

  6. Cris Ferreira
    on Jun 27th at 11:08 pm

    Nice post, Jennie.
    That is a joyous song. I remember my mom singing it when I was a kid, it is a nice memory. She sang our portuguese version (I live in Brazil) that is called “Vencendo vem Jesus” (Jesus comes winning).
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard it full in English, actually. I don’t remember the verse you mentioned. I’ll head on to Google to look it up now…

    • Jennie Pollock
      on Jun 28th at 7:10 am

      Thanks Cris. Funny, I never thought that song would bring back so many memories for people!

  7. Hazel Irene Moon
    on Jul 1st at 6:59 am

    The words of a song once in our head and difficult to get rid of.– unless it is a praise and worship song that we can jublilantly sing all day long!


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