STLT#285, We Worship Thee, God

In case we didn’t get enough of Psalm 104, we have another setting – another classic hymn, widely used, apparently.

I’m feeling quite cynical about it.  I mean, it’s not that I don’t want to praise that which I call God – but I don’t know… right now I feel like hymns such as these are disconnected from reality. I’m having a hard time pausing to praise and worship right now. Perhaps I need a vacation.

But, for whenever we need a hymn of praise, we have this perfectly serviceable hymn, with words by Sir Robert Grant, set to the Lyons tune attributed to Haydn.

I feel like I am letting you all down, dear readers. I’ve hit a weird slump in my spiritual practice – hoping maybe a shift out of the Psalms, starting tomorrow, will help. Meanwhile, make of this what you will. Maybe someday it’ll inspire me more.

Here are our recast of Grant’s lyrics:

We worship thee, God, below and above,
and gratefully sing thy power and thy love.
Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days
pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

We tell of thy might and sing of thy grace,
enrobed by the light and crowned by space.
Thy zeal for the just the deep thundercloud forms,
and dark is thy path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
thy power and care has founded from old,
established nature’s unchanging decree,
and round it has cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Though children of dust, as feeble as frail,
by thy endless trust we fear not to fail.
Thy wing with its sheltering touch does us mend,
for thou art our maker, redeemer, and friend.

I admit, it took longer than I expected to figure out what the original hymn was. Fortunately, the Google Fu was strong with me this morning, and I found the original hymn text; when Jacqui James says this has been recast, she isn’t kidding:

O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy power hath founded of old;
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall lisp to Thy praise.

I won’t bother sharing the text of Psalm 104, as I shared it yesterday, and it’s long.

Today’s featured image is of a thundercloud, because I had no idea what else to use, and thunderclouds are mentioned, so why not?

One Comment

  1. Feminist here, who reluctantly admits that the old first verse of this hymn is an earworm for me. I grew up in a Unitarian church where we sang this frequently, and those words are firmly lodged in my little girl memory. I especially loved the feeling of being protected with the words “Our shield and defender, the ancient of days” and oh my goodness, I didn’t even know what these next words meant, but they were emblazoned in my imagination: “Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.”

    We second wave feminists have had a lot to overcome.

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