Lord’s Day 13: To Be His Very Own

Catechism and Psalter

As the Apostles’ Creed progresses through the key tenets of Christianity, the Heidelberg Catechism moves slowly and steadily behind it, asking and answering thoughtful questions such as, “What do you believe…?”  “Why is he called…?”  “What does it mean…?”  “How does this benefit you…?”

Today’s installment of URC Psalmody’s 2013 Heidelberg Catechism series brings us to Lord’s Day 13, in which the Catechism expounds upon the Creed’s references to Jesus Christ as God’s “only begotten Son” and “our Lord.”

33 Q.  Why is he called God’s “only begotten Son” when we also are God’s children?

A.  Because Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.
We, however, are adopted children of God—
adopted by grace through Christ.

34 Q.  Why do you call him “our Lord”?

A.  Because—
not with gold or silver,
but with his precious blood—
he has set us free
from sin and from the tyranny of the devil,
and has bought us,
body and soul,
to be his very own.

Suggested Songs

To further the goal of increasing Psalter Hymnal literacy in parallel with our study of the Catechism, I’ve tried to avoid referring to the same song more than once in this series.  In Lord’s Days like this, where Psalms 2 and 72 come to mind almost immediately, keeping to this regimen can be difficult.  However, I did discover three unique psalm settings from the Psalter Hymnal that pretty well cover the entirety of these two questions and answers.

277, “Gracious Lord, Remember David” (Psalm 132)

(Sung at Synod 2012)

“Christ alone is the eternal, natural Son of God.”  Once we recognize that Christ, as the Son of David, fulfills the roles ascribed to the Israelite king in the psalms, selections like Psalm 132 suddenly begin to carry a deeper and more permanent meaning.  This song begins by recounting the king’s devotion to the Lord and commitment to build him a house, but then it moves on to declare the Lord’s promises to this ruler and his line:

Let the king behold Thy favor
For Thy servant David’s sake,
Unto whom a sacred promise,
Sure and faithful, Thou didst make.
If his children keep Thy covenant
And Thy testimony own,
Then, as Thou, O Lord, hast promised,
They shall sit upon his throne.

In the fifth stanza, the Psalter Hymnal once again capitalizes the pronouns referring to the Lord’s anointed.  The messianic implications here are clear.

I will cause the might of David
Ever more and more to grow;
On the path of Mine Anointed
I will make a lamp to glow.
All His enemies shall perish,
I will cover them with shame;
But His crown shall ever flourish;
Blessed be His holy Name.

“Gracious Lord, Remember David” was stunningly rendered at Synod 2012:

49, “O Lord, Regard Me When I Cry” (Psalm 27)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“We, however, are adopted children of God—adopted by grace through Christ.”  The opening words of Psalm 27—“The Lord is my light and my salvation”—are well-known to many, but this psalm also contains a striking emphasis on God as our heavenly Father.

O Lord, regard me when I cry,
In mercy hear me when I speak;
Thou bidst me seek Thy face, and I,
O Lord, with willing heart reply,
Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Hide not Thy face afar from me,
For Thou alone canst help afford;
O cast me not away from Thee
Nor let my soul forsaken be,
My Savior and my Lord.

Though earthly friends no pity take,
Yet Thy compassion knows no end;
E’en though my father shall forsake,
E’en though my mother’s love shall break,
The Lord will be my Friend.

My heart had failed in fear and woe
Unless in God I had believed,
Assured that He would mercy show
And that my life His grace should know;
Nor was my hope deceived.

201, “O My Soul, Bless Thou Jehovah” (Psalm 103)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“Not with gold or silver, but with his precious blood, he has set us free from sin and from the tyranny of the devil, and has bought us, body and soul, to be his very own.”  Psalm 103 is rich with soteriological truth, portraying God as our merciful Savior, Father, and Lord.

O my soul, bless thou Jehovah,
All within me, bless His Name;
Bless Jehovah and forget not
All His mercies to proclaim.
He forgives all thy transgressions,
Heals thy sicknesses and pains;
He redeems thee from destruction,
And His love thy life sustains.

As the heavens are high above us,
Great His love to us has proved;
Far as east from west is distant,
He has all our sins removed.
As a father loves his children,
Feeling pity for their woes,
So the Lord to those who fear Him
Mercy and compassion shows.


1 Response to “Lord’s Day 13: To Be His Very Own”

  1. 1 Lord’s Day 14: In All Things Like Us | URC Psalmody Trackback on April 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

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