Posts Tagged 'Youth'



Featured Recording: The Timelessness of Psalm 139

Featured Recording

As I’ve mentioned before, finding good psalm versifications on YouTube can be harder than searching for a needle in a haystack.  Besides our own URC Psalmody YouTube channel, the Protestant Reformed Psalm Choir channel, and a few others, the only solid psalm-singing resources I can typically find are jazzed-up contemporary songs that only allude to or loosely paraphrase the psalm they claim as their basis.

When I first discovered the video featured today, I was sure it would follow basically the same path.  It purported to be a setting of Psalm 139, but with a youth choir onstage and the piano accompaniment opening in a minor key, I wasn’t prepared to be impressed.

The first thing I noticed was that the lyrics were anything but shallow.  True, they weren’t strictly from Psalm 139, but they reflected a prominent theme of the broader Psalter, and beautifully interpreted this particular psalm for the Christian life.  Unfortunately, I don’t know the author of these lines (though I hope I soon will), but I’ve transcribed the first two verses below:

Through all the trials which God sends my way,
Through all the troubles that face each day,
Shadows and clouds may bring doubt and fear,
But Lord, I know Thou art near.

Sometimes the darkness seems empty and cold,
Sometimes I search for a hand to hold;
Lost and uncertain of what to see,
I find my courage in Thee.

What came next took me completely by surprise; actually, the first time I heard it, it sent tingles of awe down my spine.  In the space of one pivotal quarter note, the choir transitioned into a major key, opened up into gorgeous 4-part harmony, and began singing the beloved words of Psalm 139 straight out of the 1912 Psalter.  Hearing the voices of a few hundred children and young people singing these lines made them all the more moving.

Lord, Thou hast searched me and dost know
Where’er I rest, where’er I go;
Thou knowest all that I have planned,
And all my ways are in Thy hand.

Following this incredible musical statement of confidence and trust, the choir reverted to the original minor key for one more verse of the new arrangement, then ended their all-too-short anthem with one more stanza from Psalm 139:

If I the wings of morning take,
And far away my dwelling make,
The hand that leadeth me is Thine,
And my support Thy power divine.

The recording of this arrangement is embedded below:

I could make a multitude of applications as a result of this video, from the modernization of psalm settings to the structure of good choir arrangements.  Rather than overcomplicate this post, however, I’d like to leave you with just one thought: The psalms are truly timeless and intergenerational.  Even a child can sing in simple awe, “Lord, Thou hast searched me and dost know/Where’er I rest, where’er I go.”  But these same words can be uttered with equal sincerity by a hopeful young person with tantalizing prospects ahead of him, as well as by a weak and weary senior who through trials and troubles has proved God’s faithfulness over many years.  The inspired psalms speak to any and every Christian, with no regard to age, time, or place.  Of all things, that is what makes this arrangement so powerful, and the Psalter so valuable.

–MRK

(Click here for last week’s Featured Recording)

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Featured Recording: O Come, My Soul

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits…

These jubilant words from the initial verses of Psalm 103 opened my very first post here on URC Psalmody, on December 31st, 2011.  As we move into a new year, I find myself once again returning to this timeless psalm—this time, as the first subject in a new series to be entitled “Featured Recordings.”  Each Friday, Lord willing, I hope to post a link to a notable audio recording or YouTube video and offer a few comments on it.

You can access this week’s recording by clicking here or on the video still below (due to its format I can’t embed the YouTube player here).

Dordt Organ

Now, perhaps it seems a little egoistic that I’ve chosen as our first “Featured Recording” a video from the 2011 Reformed Youth Services Convention talent show, when I played the organ at Dordt College.  But there’s more to the story.  Allow me to explain.

When I was just starting to play the piano at West Sayville Reformed Bible Church at the age of eight or nine, my most enthusiastic encourager was an elder by the name of Jake Klaassen.  For readers who were involved in the long and difficult transition process from the Christian Reformed Church to the United Reformed Churches, that might well be a familiar name.  Apparently he had quite a reputation as the “synodical sergeant-at-arms” who used “an ear-piercing whistle to summon recalcitrant delegates back to their seats after coffee break,” according to one United Reformed News Service article.  I don’t think it is any exaggeration to say that Mr. Klaassen was one of the pillars of this church as we underwent the troubling transition from CRC to URCNA.  He was a humble servant whom the Lord used mightily throughout more than fifty years of eldership.

As I said, Mr. Klaassen was relentless in encouraging me, almost to the point that I feared him.  Every Sunday, it seemed, he would manage to catch me off-guard and pose his unchanging question: “Young man, when are you going to learn to play the organ?”  Finding an excuse became harder and harder.  Eventually I told myself, “I had better just start learning, or I’ll never hear the end of it!”  (How my motives have changed since then!)  By God’s provision, he was able to hear me practicing on the church organ once before a Sunday evening service.

Jake Klaassen’s favorite psalm was Psalm 103.  When he picked a number for the song service, there was always a good chance it would be Psalter Hymnal number 201 or 204.  When he passed away in 2008, a paraphrase of Psalm 103 was sung at his funeral.  Since then, it seems that the words have never left my mind:

Good is the Lord, and full of kind compassion,
Most slow to anger, plenteous in love;
Rich is His grace to all that humbly seek Him,
Boundless and endless as the heavens above.

His love is like a father’s to his children,
Tender and kind to all who fear His Name;
For well He knows our weakness and our frailty,
He knows that we are dust, He knows our frame.

We fade and die like flowers that grow in beauty,
Like tender grass that soon will disappear;
But evermore the love of God is changeless,
Still shown to those who look to Him in fear.

High in the heavens His throne is fixed forever,
His kingdom rules o’er all from pole to pole;
Bless ye the Lord through all His wide dominion,
Bless His most holy Name, O thou my soul.

It took another three years before I had learned enough organ technique to feel that playing this instrument in church was possible, though even then I didn’t particularly relish the idea.

Now fast-forward to the 2011 Reformed Youth Services international convention at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.  This trip was full of “firsts” for me—my first trip to the Midwest, my first RYS convention, my first experience interacting with 800 other Reformed youth and sponsors.  And it was my first time in the presence of a massive pipe organ for five days.  I was practically drooling as my youth group walked into the auditorium for registration and I heard the organ playing.

A size comparison: me vs. the 32' rank of the Dordt organ

In perspective

Then, through a series of events that I still find unbelievable, God provided the chance for me to actually play this huge Casavant.  The idea was unthinkable.  I was sure I would pick the wrong stops, make a horrible mistake, or even break the instrument.  But, with the encouragement of RYS Coordinator Ed DeGraaf and convention organist Mrs. Denise Marcusse, I finally decided to swallow my fears and give it a try.  I would play the organ for the talent show.

The next question: What should I play?  The answer came to me almost immediately.  Psalter Hymnal 204, “O Come, My Soul,” was one of the few songs I had actually practiced and played on the organ back home.  And, with the question “Young man, when are you going to play the organ?” still echoing in my mind, I remembered that it was from Psalm 103.

I made one more decision at the last minute: I wanted the audience to sing with me.  Flipping through the gray Psalter Hymnal used in the auditorium of Dordt College, I found to my surprise that it included “O Come My Soul.”  Yes, the words were slightly altered, but still—it was there!

This video from the talent show is the result of that incredible experience.  Could Jake Klaassen have imagined that his ceaseless prodding, so annoying to me at the time, would bear fruit even after his death as hundreds of young Reformed Christians joined in heartfelt praise to God by singing his favorite psalm?  What a testimony to God’s unchanging faithfulness from one generation to the next!  “The steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:17 ESV).  Words simply cannot express my thankfulness to God for granting me this once-in-a-lifetime privilege—not for my glory, but for His!

We fade and die like flowers that grow in beauty,
Like tender grass that soon will disappear;
But evermore the love of God is changeless,
Still shown to those who look to Him in fear.

Bless Him, ye angels, wondrous in might,
Bless Him, His servants, that in His will delight.

High in the heavens His throne is fixed forever,
His kingdom rules o’er all from pole to pole;
Bless ye the Lord through all His wide dominion,
Bless His most holy Name, O thou my soul.

–MRK

“Psalms for a New Generation”

While planning for our fall road trip, I intended to attend the meeting of Classis Eastern U. S., visit some colleges, worship with one of our sister congregations in Indiana, and spend a day at Mid-America Reformed Seminary.  I didn’t expect to lead a Sunday school presentation.  But that’s exactly what Jim Oord invited me to do.

The kind saints at Community United Reformed Church in Schererville, IN, allowed me to give a presentation on “Psalms for a New Generation,” in which I endeavored to guide them through the history and principles of psalm-singing and provide some practical advice for revitalizing it in the coming generations.

Now, along with the psalmody discussion Jim and I published last week, you can watch the video of this class on YouTube.  This was certainly a first for me, so forgive my faltering tongue.  I’ve also uploaded the “Study Guide” or whatever you’d like to call it as a PDF.  As I said in the notes, “Through this class I merely hope to share my own love and ever-deepening appreciation for the psalms, the songs of God’s people throughout the ages.”  Enjoy, and please share!

–MRK

(Try this link if the embedded video doesn’t work.)

Sing a New Song, Chapter 2: A Delightful Ordinance

Last Thursday we began a discussion on Sing a New Song, a relatively new book edited by Joel Beeke and Anthony Selvaggio on “Recovering Psalm-Singing for the Twenty-First Century.”  Our hybrid review format/written dialogue seemed to work well enough that we plan to continue on in the same vein!  So, without further ado, here’s our commentary on Chapter 2, by Dr. Joel Beeke: “Psalm Singing in Calvin and the Puritans.”

JDO: Dr. Beeke’s chapter made me really happy and genuinely excited to sing the psalms.  I haven’t read the rest of the book yet, but I could honestly say that I think this chapter alone is probably worth the price of the whole thing.  Beeke’s thesis is basically summed up in the sentence, “Calvin and the Puritans felt convicted to sing psalms in public worship and loved doing so” (p. 17).  By the end of the chapter, I felt the same way.

I loved the discussion of Calvin’s rationale for congregational psalm singing.  A lot of it may sound familiar to a psalm-singing church, but much of it was, if not new, certainly challenging and refreshing. Did anything in particular stand out to you?

MRK: I suppose one thing that we need to continually remind ourselves is that Calvin and the Puritans were pretty much working from scratch.  The practice of psalm-singing in the medieval church had dwindled down to a negligible amount—if it still existed at all.  So, in the Reformers’ day, the concept of psalm-singing by the congregation was just as radical as any other facet of the Reformation.

Dr. Beeke goes on to list a number of implications of the psalms—all of them excellent.  Although we can’t quote them all (you really ought to read this book for yourself anyway!), we might summarize the list in the words of Calvin’s famous quote—that the psalms are “an anatomy of all parts of the soul” (p. 19).  Our whole personal experience as Christians can be expressed in the inspired words of the psalms.

The chapter then describes the origin and history of the famous Genevan Psalter of 1562.  One aspect of this songbook that seems especially unique is that it contains 110 different melodies written specifically for the psalms.

JDO: That’s a great feature for a psalter to have.  As you learn the tune, you also learn the psalm, and as you remember the distinct tune, you remember the distinct psalm.  It’s really a brilliant pedagogical device.

MRK: Another inference we can make about these unique tunes is that Calvin and his colleagues realized the profound importance of tunes that were suitable for worship and appropriate for whichever psalms accompanied them.

JDO: Calvin argued that the piety of psalm-singing is best promoted when “the text takes priority over the tune” (p. 22).  Of the music, he says that it should be “‘weighty, dignified, majestic, and modest’—fitting attitudes for sinful creatures in the presence of God,” according to Beeke.

MRK: I especially appreciated Calvin’s emphasis on teaching the psalms to the youth, in light of my recent meditations (“Let Youth Praise Him!” and “All-Season Psalms”).  Not only then would the children learn the psalms, but they could also teach them to their parents at home!

JDO: It’s also great that Calvin had the psalm selections for each Lord’s Day posted on the church doors in advance, so that families could practice the psalms throughout the week in preparation for corporate worship.  I’ve known a few families who similarly check their church’s bulletins when they’re posted online during the week.  It’s always a blessing to hear their wee children singing loudly along with the congregation on Sunday morning.

MRK: Can you imagine sending a family member to check the numbers posted at your church every Sunday?  We have access to much of this information on the internet, as you mentioned, and yet we still don’t take advantage of the opportunity to practice the Psalms ahead of time!

Reflecting on the first half of Chapter 2, we note that Calvin’s philosophy of psalm-singing was truly ground-breaking.  He reintroduced congregational song, created his own Psalter in the common tongue with new tunes, and promulgated the practice of corporate and individual psalm-singing.  But he also influenced another major branch of the Reformers: the English Puritans.  That’s where Beeke turns his attention in the second half of this chapter.

JDO: During the anti-Protestant rule of the English queen, “Bloody Mary,” many of the Puritans turned to psalm-singing for worship and comfort.  But when Mary’s persecution ended, their love of the psalms did not.  In fact, the English Protestants who had fled to Geneva brought back the Genevan Psalter with them!  Through the influence of the Puritans, and later through the rule of the Protestant Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, the practice of psalm-singing became well-established in the English church.

MRK: For a variety of reasons, the common impression of Puritans is a bunch of grumpy old sticks-in-the-mud refusing to conform to anything.  Beeke clearly sets that misconception aside here.  Their resistance to the common uninspired church music of the day did not arise out of a “distaste of music,” as Dr. Beeke explains, “but their deep conviction that the Scripture must be obeyed at all costs.”  That’s the background to the 1647 treatise Singing of Psalmes: A Gospel-Ordinance by the New England Puritan John Cotton (1584-1682).  For the remainder of this chapter, Beeke offers a commentary on Cotton’s four main areas of study.

Cotton’s first section deals with “The Duty of Singing Psalms.”  I was greatly surprised to learn about what he calls the “Antipsalmists.”  No singing at all in the Christian church?  That’s a view I’ve never heard advocated until now.

JDO: Neither have I; in fact, I was rather frightened to hear it.  But I guess that’s what comes from an overdeveloped dispensationalism—in other words, that the “songs of the Old Testament” are no longer applicable to the “New Testament church.”  I suppose we do have to deal with many “practical antipsalmists,” those who don’t oppose singing the psalms, but simply don’t practice it.

MRK: Thankfully, we both agree with Cotton Mather’s refutation of that doctrine.  But I love that he goes further, to point out that the songs of the church must be intelligible to the hearers.   And, even more than that, it must all add up to God’s glory.  In one fell swoop Mather demolishes any argument against using the psalms and instead rears up a tower of psalm-singing praise to God.

JDO: I think we often miss an aspect of psalm-singing that Cotton brings out and that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 5:19—when we sing the psalms, we are not only praising God but also “addressing one another” for our mutual edification.  Singing psalms in church is not merely an individual affair; we sing it to our fellow congregants, they sing it to us, and as a whole we encourage one another.  The threefold purpose of psalm-singing—bringing glory to God, edifying the singer, and teaching and addressing one’s fellow singers—isn’t often in our minds, but it’s extremely important as an aspect of our ministry to and from other believers.

MRK: Cotton’s view of uninspired hymns in the second section strikes me as quite interesting.  While we might not agree with some of Cotton’s specific stipulations, I admire his underlying belief: We can sing a variety of songs to edify and encourage fellow believers, but we must only worship God as he has directed in the Bible.

JDO: Right.  And how could the congregation have the audacity to “address one another” in official function with anything other than the inspired Word of God?

MRK: I had never even stopped to consider some of the questions Cotton brings up in the third part of his book.  “Should an individual be allowed to sing for the congregation, or should the entire congregation sing?  Should men and women sing, or men only?  Should unbelievers be allowed to sing with believers?  Should people who are not church members be allowed to sing?” (p. 34).

JDO: Yeah—that rather shocked me, too.

MRK: Fortunately, I was reassured by all of his answers.  Especially intriguing was Cotton’s argument that believers and unbelievers alike are called to sing to God.  It made me stop, think, and finally agree.  Of course, his proviso at the end of this section is also important—even though the psalms are intended for the whole world, the Church of Christ has a special duty to sing them.

JDO:  And the church should delight in that duty!

MRK: Personally, my favorite part was Cotton’s fourth section, in which he discusses the manner of singing and whether psalms can be sung to man-made tunes.  I have found in my own spiritual walk that Cotton’s comments about metrical psalters ring true: they make “the verses more easie for memory, and more fit for melody” (p. 36).  Cotton upholds the importance of the music as well as the words, and the correct balance between the two.  In short, according to Beeke, “God gives us freedom to compose reverent tunes for the Psalms, so long as the rhythm and tunes are pleasing to God and edifying to His people.  We should never use this liberty to satisfy our selfish desires.”

JDO:  Yes.  The answer to the thoughtless question “If you’re so picky about singing psalms, why not sing them in Hebrew?” is that we are to sing with understanding.  We are obligated to translate the psalms into the common tongue, put them into memorable versifications, and set them to suitable, singable tunes.

MRK: Now, Jim, I know you already utilize Cotton’s suggested practice of reading a psalm in worship before singing it.  Have you noticed the same benefits that he describes?

JDO: Absolutely.  On the one hand, I always appreciate short and sweet song introductions.  But I do find that at least saying a few words concerning the biblical psalm to be sung, or highlighting a few verses thereof, does much to increase my understanding and appreciating while singing.  It would be super to have a mini-sermon on each psalm to be sung before reading it and singing it, but I also appreciate the need for a streamlined service.  A few well-placed sentences regarding the upcoming psalm go a long way in encouraging mind-full singing.

Dr. Beeke closes his chapter with an insightful and practical list of three benefits of psalm-singing.  Although this practice is commanded and encouraged in Scripture, we find that as with all of God’s precepts the command to sing psalms is for our good and delight.

  1. Psalm-singing is a profound source of comfort for the soul.  Robert Sanderson (1587-1662), Bishop of Lincoln, called the psalms “the treasury of Christian comfort” (p. 39).
  2. Psalm-singing cultivates piety.  The psalms teach us vocabulary for godly prayer, a posture for grateful living, and a vehicle for God-focused worship.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, psalm singing is a powerful means by which we can glorify God from the heart.

We owe a lot to the work of John Calvin and the English Puritans in recovering the divinely-appointed place of psalm-singing in worship.  Indeed, singing the psalms is a God-given ordinance, but a delightful one.  Sanderson expresses it this way:

[Psalm-singing is] fitted for all persons and all necessities; able to raise the soul from dejection by the frequent mention of God’s mercies to repentant sinners; to stir up holy desire; to increase joy; to moderate sorrow; to nourish hope, and teach us patience, by waiting God’s leisure; to beget a trust in the mercy, power, and providence of our Creator; and to cause a resignation of ourselves to his will: and then, and not till then, to believe ourselves happy.

We look forward with you to next week’s discussion of Chapter 3: “The History of Psalm-Singing in the Christian Church.”  Until then,

–JDO/MRK

All-Season Psalms

(NEWS FLASH: Mrs. Joy Grotenhuis, daughter-in-law of the late Dale Grotenhuis, has kindly offered her services to us in regard to her father-in-law’s extensive musical works.  View this comment on a previous blog post for details!)

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been making a lot of forays into the distant past of our congregation here in West Sayville.  What sparked my interest was a little black notebook on one of the bottom shelves in our library.  It contained the minutes of every meeting of the Young People’s Society (think youth group) from 1916 to 1918.  Its preservation seems almost miraculous; our church has had a functioning youth group since 1906, but so far I have not discovered any of its other minute books.

During the process of digitizing the minutes from this notebook, I also noticed that the Society sang several songs throughout the course of each meeting, and every selection was meticulously noted.  I decided to examine their musical practices further; below is an explanation I’ve compiled for our congregation’s benefit.

In 1912, the United Presbyterian Board of Publication produced The Psalter, a collection of 413 settings of the 150 inspired Scriptural Psalms.  This songbook was approved for use in the Christian Reformed Church in 1914; the Psalter Hymnal as we know it did not appear until 1934.  Thus, the Young People’s Society from 1916 to 1918 would in all likelihood have sung from the 1912 United Presbyterian Psalter, and to this effect Clara Verbeke records in the very first minutes that “the meeting opened by singing Nos. 56 and 7 from the Psalter.”

We can obtain some significant gleanings from the accompanying table.  First, it should be noted that the young people of a century ago sang many of the very same selections we utilize in today’s worship; sixty-four of these seventy-eight songs appear in some form in our current Psalter Hymnal.  Yet some of the Society’s selections may strike us as odd.  “Wherefore do the nations rage,” “Judge me, God of my salvation,” “Jehovah, to my prayer give ear,” “Save me, O God, because the floods,” “Though troubles great o’ershadow me,” “I thought upon the days of old,” “Lord, the God of my salvation,” “Regard my grief and rescue me,” “From the depths do I invoke thee,” “By Babel’s streams we sat and wept”—why would these psalms, each so heavy with sorrowful lamentation, be sung in a youth gathering?  To answer this question we must remember the times in which these young people lived.  A war was in their midst; their own fathers, friends, and brothers were departing in a steady stream to serve their country overseas.  Further, four parents of Society members died during the span of these Minutes.  In a way that might seem foreign to us, the young people of this narrative could sing the laments of Scripture from the depths of their hearts.

What is more important, however, is the young people’s commitment to learning and singing the psalms.  Although they had their familiar favorites (the two most popular being numbers 254, “O come before the Lord, our King,” and 381, “With grateful heart my thanks I bring”), but their repertoire was both sizable and broad.  O for that same level of musical zeal today!

The table below correlates each 1912 Psalter selection with its matching psalm, its first line, and the number of times it was sung throughout the course of these Minutes.

No. Psalm First line Frequency
1 Ps 1 That man is blest who, fearing God 1
2 Ps 1 Blest is he who loves God’s precepts 1
3 Ps 2 Wherefore do the nations rage 2
7 Ps 4 On the good and faithful 18
10 Ps 5 In the fullness of Thy grace 4
28 Ps 16 When in the night I meditate 3
55 Ps 23 The Lord my Shepherd holds me 10
56 Ps 23 My Shepherd is the Lord Who knows my needs 2
57 Ps 24 The earth and the fulness with which it is stored 2
60 Ps 25 To Thee I lift my soul 3
64 Ps 25 Lord, I lift my soul to Thee 1
67 Ps 25 Lord, to me Thy ways make known 1
81 Ps 31 How great the goodness kept in store 16
82 Ps 31 Defend me, Lord, from shame 4
110 Ps 40 Thy tender mercies, O my Lord 14
112 Ps 40 Before Thy people I confess 2
120 Ps 43 Judge me, God of my salvation 14
126 Ps 46 God is our refuge and our strength 1
140 Ps 51 God be merciful to me 1
142 Ps 51 God be merciful to me 10
148 Ps 55 Jehovah, to my prayer give ear 1
162 Ps 62 My soul in silence waits for God 2
170 Ps 65 Praise waits for Thee in Zion 5
171 Ps 65 Thy might sets fast the mountains 2
176 Ps 67 O God, to us show mercy 11
183 Ps 68 O Lord, Thou hast ascended 1
184 Ps 69 Save me, O God, because the floods 1
187 Ps 69 Thy loving-kindness, Lord, is good and free 1
191 Ps 71 Though troubles great o’ershadow me 8
200 Ps 72 Christ shall have dominion 6
201 Ps 73 God loveth the righteous, His goodness is sure 2
202 Ps 73 In doubt and temptation I rest, Lord, in Thee 8
203 Ps 73 In sweet communion, Lord, with Thee 1
212 Ps 77 I thought upon the days of old 12
217 Ps 79 Remember not, O God 1
220 Ps 80 Great Shepherd Who leadest Thy people in love 4
221 Ps 80 Great Shepherd Who leadest Thy people in love 6
225 Ps 84 How dear to me, O Lord of Hosts 1
227 Ps 84 O Lord of Hosts, how lovely 1
237 Ps 87 Zion, founded on the mountains 7
239 Ps 87 Zion, on the holy hills 1
240 Ps 88 Lord, the God of my salvation 5
245 Ps 90 Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place 16
254 Ps 95 O come before the Lord, our King 19
255 Ps 95 Now with joyful exultation 10
261 Ps 98 Sing a new song to Jehovah 1
263 Ps 98 Unto God our Saviour 1
264 Ps 98 Come, let us sing before the Lord 2
265 Ps 99 Jehovah reigns in majesty 2
266 Ps 99 God is King forever: let the nations tremble 1
268 Ps 100 All people that on earth do dwell 1
269 Ps 100 All people that dwell on the earth 1
277 Ps 103 O praise and bless the Lord, my soul 1
280 Ps 103 O my soul, bless thou Jehovah 3
285 Ps 104 My soul, bless the Lord! the Lord is most great 1
304 Ps 111 O give the Lord whole-hearted praise 1
306 Ps 113 Praise God, ye servants of the Lord 10
310 Ps 116 I love the Lord, for my request 1
335 Ps 119 Deceit and falsehood I abhor 1
340 Ps 119 Regard my grief and rescue me 11
344 Ps 121 I to the hills will lift my eyes 1
345 Ps 121 To the hills I lift my eyes 9
346 Ps 121 To the hills I lift my eyes 2
351 Ps 123 To Thee, O Lord, I lift my eyes 1
357 Ps 126 When Zion in her low estate 1
363 Ps 130 From the depths do I invoke Thee 8
368 Ps 132 Arise, O Lord, our God, arise 1
371 Ps 133 Behold, how pleasant and how good 3
379 Ps 137 By Babel’s streams we sat and wept 1
381 Ps 138 With grateful heart my thanks I bring 19
382 Ps 139 Lord, Thou hast searched me, and dost know 6
399 Ps 145 My God, I will extol Thee 1
401 Ps 146 Praise ye the Lord, His praise proclaim 1
403 Ps 147 Praise ye the Lord, for it is good 8
404 Ps 148 Praise ye, praise ye the Lord 1
408 Ps 149 Ye who His temple throng 2
413 Ps 150 Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 6

 —

I won’t wax eloquent on some contemporary applications of my discoveries about the songs of the Young People’s Society, but I will ask two pointed questions that arise in my mind as a result of this study.  First, do we work to familiarize ourselves with the psalms and hymns of worship, or do we confine them to the Sunday morning service as an otherwise irrelevant part of our lives?  Second, when we, like these young people, are confronted by toil, hardship, and sorrow, do we turn to God by means of the psalms for comfort and relief?  If our answer is negative to either of these questions, perhaps it’s time for a perspective adjustment.  We might learn a lot from the example of yesteryear’s youth.

–MRK


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