This past monday the Redeemer Faculty Association hosted a retirement gathering for Dr. Jacob Ellens, who came to the university as a history professor the same year I did: 1987. During the 25 years we served together, I came to love and respect Ellens as a Christian man of utmost integrity and compassion. He brought to his work a strong sense of the communion of the saints and especially of our debt as Reformed Christians to the early centuries of the church. Ellens' profound catholic sensibility caused him to appreciate the larger christian liturgical tradition as well. Accordingly, Ellens was most supportive of my work with the Psalms, even though it took me well outside my field of formal competence.
During the gathering I was privileged to sing the first two stanzas of Psalm 145, according to my own versified text and arrangement of the melody, accompanied by my esteemed French colleague, Dr. Thea VanTil Rusthoven. Here are the first two stanzas:
My God and King, I'll tell abroad your fame,
and I will ever bless your holy name.
From day to day I'll bless your majesty,
and praise your name through all eternity.
Great is the LORD and worthy of our praises;
great is his name, surpassing earthly places.
Your works are told to every generation,
your mighty acts throughout the whole creation.
Upon the splendour of your majesty
and on your works I'll ponder ceaselessly.
Your mighty wonders we will celebrate,
and I will tell abroad your marvels great.
They'll celebrate your goodness overflowing,
and sing aloud your righteousness all-knowing.
The LORD is merciful and very gracious,
slow to be angry, full of loving kindness.