Written By Tega Mandrake
The aim is to remind us excellent hymns that are probably not included in most church’s musical canon. A few hymns–like Holy, Holy, Holy or Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing—are familiar to many congregations and get sung in conferences and other large gatherings. Unfortunately, for a growing number of churches, there are no hymnals in the pews (or on the chairs), and consequently there is little opportunity to draw from the deep well of Christian hymnody. Most of the hymns in this series are not unfamiliar, just underutilized. I hope you will enjoy learning about these hymns as much as I have and enjoy singing them even more.
The Bible instructs God’s people to sing psalms (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Jesus sang the Psalms (Matt. 26:30). The early church sang the Psalms. The Reformers, especially in the tradition of Calvin, loved to sing the Psalms. The Bay Psalm Book was the first book of any kind printed in America. The Psalms—150 God-breathed songs—have been the staple of Protestant worship for 500 years. The Psalms give expression to the full range of human emotion-lament, joy, anguish, doubt, hope, longing, confusion, jubilation, contrition, and fear. We sing the Psalms to our great spiritual profit; we neglect them at our peril.
Psalm 149 is a song of praise. Composed after the exile to Babylon, this Psalm exhorts Israel to sing a new song to the Lord, praising him with instruments and dancing for saving the humble and opposing the wicked.
The tune used in the gray Psalter Hymnal is called HANOVER, after the House of Hanover, the family of King George III (the King at the time of American independence). Although the tune was printed anonymously, it is generally credited to William Croft (1678-1727), a teacher, organist, and composer. The descant comes from another Englishmen, Alan Gray (1855-1935), a composer and popular music director for many years at Cambridge.
Sing praise to the LORD; come sing a new song.
Amid all his saints his praises prolong.
Let Israel be glad in their Maker and sing;
let all Zion’s people rejoice in their King.
With timbrel and harp and joyful acclaim,
with dancing and song give praise to his name.
For God in his people his pleasure will seek,
with robes of salvation adorning the meek.
In glory exult, you saints of the LORD;
with songs in the night high praises accord.
Go forth in his service, be strong in his might
to conquer all evil and stand for the right.
For this is God’s word: his saints shall not fail,
but over the earth their power shall prevail.
All kingdoms and nations shall yield to their sword–
thus God shows his glory. Sing praise to the LORD!