Photosynthesis within us… see if you can say that quickly five times! How precious is that light that dwells within each of us! This hymn teaches us that just as the light of God rests on the face of brook and flower and tree and causes them to grow, it also rests in the heart of every child.
The light of God rests on the face
Of brook and flow’r and tree
And kindles in our happy hearts
The hope of things to be
The light of faith abides within
The heart of every child;
Like buds that wait for blossoming,
It grows with radiance mild.
Sunlight provides the energy that plants use in order to grow. This process is called photosynthesis. It allows that budding and blossoming of every plant. This hymn suggests that a similar light exists within the heart of every child… the light of faith. If photosynthesis can trigger growth within a plant, what might a divine light trigger within the heart of a child? Or the heart of anyone?
In his closing message to the young women of the Church at the 1995 General Young Women Meeting, President Gordon B. Hinckley said this:
“Some of you may feel that you are not as attractive and beautiful and glamorous as you would like to be. Rise above any such feelings, cultivate the light you have within you, and it will shine through as a radiant expression that will be seen by others.
“You need never feel inferior. You need never feel that you were born without talents or without opportunities to give them expression. Cultivate whatever talents you have, and they will grow and refine and become an expression of your true self appreciated by others.” [https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/04/the-light-within-you?lang=eng]
In D&C 46, we also read about this: “11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.”
We are not all the same, but we are all given divine gifts of the spirit that will bless our lives and the lives of those around us. It is our sacred opportunity to discover what these gifts are as we travel through life.
Verse three and the chorus of THE LIGHT DIVINE are a prayer to our Heavenly Father, asking him to continue to touch our hearts with His light.
History of The Light Divine
This song was written for a Primary chorus, with words by Matilda Watts Cahoon (1881-1973) and music by Mildred T. Pettit (1895-1977). These two ladies collaborated on numerous songs for Church programs.
A meeting was held on September 3, 1985, to celebrate the completion of the new hymnbook. President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke on that occasion and paid tribute to Matilda Watts Cahoon, who was one of his boyhood music teachers:
“She was my music teacher in junior high school. The only claim I have to musical fame is that I was a part of the boys’ chorus in junior high which won two district championships of the Salt Lake and Granite school districts. Since then I’ve forgotten how to read music and all about it, but I do hold up my hand to Matilda Watts Cahoon who somehow coaxed a tune out of me as a part of the boys’ chorus of that junior high school. She was a great and delightful and lovely teacher.” [Davidson: Our Latter-day Hymns]
Matilda Watts Cahoon was a music teacher in Utah and Nevada. After the death of her husband, she obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah. She taught in the public schools for 39 years, was the first woman delegate to the state legislature from Salt Lake County and served from 1913-1939 on the Primary General Board.
Mildred T. Pettit served in the Primary for 35 years, four of those on the Primary General Board. During that time, she wrote many programs and 145 songs for children. She and Sister Cahoon were a prolific songwriting team. Sister Pettit also wrote the music for “I Am a Child of God.”
Congregation Choir Arrangements
- with enhanced piano and vocal countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.
- with enhanced piano and flute or violin countermelody. PURCHASE HERE.
Suggestions for Using Our Arrangements
Our Congregation Choir arrangements add a beautiful alternate accompaniment to the original SATB found in the hymnbook. This alternate accompaniment could be used with the SATB for a piano/organ duet accompaniment for the entire congregation or a large choir. It could also be used alone as a more embellished accompaniment for a solo singer or group, or just to enjoy as a piano solo.
There are many ways these arrangements could be used with this hymn. Here is one suggestion.
v. 1 Sing through as written in the hymnbook
v. 2 Sing the verse part as written in the hymnbook. Add the countermelody (vocal or instrumental) on the chorus
v. 3 Add a countermelody all the way through, or just on the chorus again.
If you want voice and instrument countermelodies together, we suggest just using the vocal arrangement for both.
Photosynthesis within us! So much is possible when the light of truth and faith touches our hearts. We see God’s “unseen purposes” for ourselves and others. We can reach our best potential.