Sunday, January 29, 2012

And Songs of Gladness Ring

The appointed psalm for the day in my church this morning was Psalm 67. The choir sang it as usual, and later in the service we sang an anthem setting of the text by William Mathias which was written for the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981.

In some traditions, the psalms are still sung in metrical form, so Psalm 67 can also be shared by the whole congregation in this way.

O God, to us show mercy
And bless us in thy grace;
Forever shine upon us
The brightness of thy face;
That so thy way most holy
On earth may soon be known,
And unto every people
Thy saving grace be shown.

O God, let people praise thee,
Let all the nations sing;
In every land let praises
And songs of gladness ring;
For thou shalt judge the people
In truth and righteousness,
And through the earth the nations
Thy perfect rule confess.

O God, let people praise thee,
Let all the nations sing,
For earth in rich abundance
To us its fruit shall bring.
The Living God shall bless us,
Shall to us blessing send,
And all the earth shall know God
To its remotest end.

The Psalter, 1912; alt.
Henry T. Smart, 1835

This paraphrase comes from The Psalter (1912), published by the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, a hymnbook which was used by several different Presbyterian subdenominations for many years. A sturdy, familiar tune like LANCASHIRE often works with texts like this, which are not sung often and don't usually rise to the level of anyone's "favorite" hymn.

1 comment:

AuntE said...

I LOVE the setting by Mathias! Even bought a couple copies of the piece after it came out in 1981 - just to have it, to play the accompaniment occasionally, and to wallow in the sound. I admit to more than a little envy that you sing in a choir that can handle that piece! It is, for me, a wonderful expression of the words of Psalm 67.