30 May 2014

Singing the Psalms: on public transportation

I don't know whether this is a church group, but can you imagine the responses if passengers on an ordinary city or inter-city bus broke into Gaelic psalmody? People generally line up for the bus, but very few indeed line out in the bus.

29 May 2014

The Niagara Psalter: Psalm 47

On this Ascension Day I have posted one more selection from my growing Niagara Psalter collection: Psalm 47, which is a joyous celebration of God's kingship over, not only his own people, but all the nations of the earth and the symbols of their power. The text has obvious relevance to today's observance, namely, the formal end of Jesus' earthly ministry and his enthronement at the right hand of God the Father, where he reigns as king and intercedes on our behalf and from whence, as the Creed puts it, "he shall come to judge the living and the dead." I have named the tune PLAUDITE, from the Latin Vulgate translation of this Psalm. It is in the ionian mode, and the text is unrhymed:

Peoples, clap your hands together;
shout to God with songs of joy!
For the LORD Most High is awesome,
great king over all the earth.
He subdued the pagan peoples,
put them underneath our feet,
gave their land to us as promised,
Jacob's pride bestowed in love.

God goes up as shouts of triumph
follow him in his ascent,
With the sound of blasting trumpet,
see the LORD ascend on high.
Sing your praise to God, sing praises;
praises sing to God our King.
For of earth our God is Ruler;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

God reigns over every nation;
God is seated on his throne.
All the princes of the peoples
gather in his presence now
as the people who inherit
what God promised Abraham.
For the shields of earth are God's, who
is exalted and most high.

20 May 2014

Psalm 130: Stolz on the home stretch

Our friend Ernst Stolz has now reached Psalm 130 in his steady march through the Genevan Psalms. Only twenty more to go.

17 May 2014

Update: Psalms 101 and 104

I have added two more Psalms to my Genevan collection, Psalms 101 and 104, making for a cumulative total of 85.

Psalm 101 may have been a coronation Psalm for the Davidic monarch, who swears thereby to uphold justice and to root out wickedness within his kingdom. It is perhaps ascribed to David himself or, alternatively, it may simply be of or about David, following the heading in the Septuagint. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon believes that its applicability extends beyond the political and into the private household, whose integrity requires proper governance along godly patterns. According to Matthew Henry, this psalm teaches that all charged with authority, presumably in any setting, are "to use it so as to be a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well." As with so many of the Davidic psalms, Psalm 101 may be seen to find its ultimate fulfilment in the person of the coming Messiah, Jesus, who will pronounce final judgement on the wicked and salvation for the righteous and whose kingdom will have no end.

Here are the first three stanzas in my versification, covering verses 1-4 in the standard prose translations:

Of justice and fidelity will I sing;
to you, O LORD, my songs of praise will I bring,
and to your righteous ways I'll firmly cling.
When will you come?

Integrity shall be the path I pursue;
within my house I vow to give all to you.
I will not place whatever is untrue
before my eyes.

I hate the deeds that faithless people perform;
to all their evils I will never conform.
My heart will not let wicked ways deform,
but shun all sin.

The poetic metre is and the versification follows an a-a-a-b rhyming scheme. The melody is in the hypoionian mode, which is roughly equivalent to what we would call a major key.

Psalm 104 is traditionally associated with Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit to the church. I will have more to say about this psalm as we get closer to this feast day.