Lord, may we continually praise you for who you are, and what you do daily in our lives providing shelter, health, and ultimately salvation. Thank you that your goodness and mercy attend us daily. May we praise you forevermore.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning;
sheltering you under his wings, and so gently sustaining!
Have you not seen all that is needful has been
sent by his gracious ordaining?
Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends you.
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before him.
Let the Amen sound from his people again;
gladly forever adore him.
Psalm 103:1-6 & Psalm 150
The lyric to Praise To The Lord The Almighty was originally written by Joachim Neander in the late 1600s. Joachim was an unlikely hymnist...as a young man he was "riotous and fond of questionable pleasures." In fact, he and two friends once went to church on the sole mission to make fun of the preacher but instead, Neander found himself deeply moved by the sermon and joined the German Reformed Church. He would be their most important hymn-writer and many of his works center on praise and thanksgiving. He also deeply felt God's presence in nature and it is likely that many of his songs were written in a cave that he particularly enjoyed visiting. Almost two hundred years after it's composition, his text "Lobe den Herren den mächtigen König" was translated into English by Catherine Winkworth who was basically well known for her knowledge of German Hymnody and German-to-English translations of hymn texts, and for her pioneering work in the area of women's rights.
The tune, LOBE DEN HERREN, was anonymously written around 1665 and is most frequently paired with this set of lyrics, although occasionally used with other texts.
This particular arrangement was created by Ronnie Dennis, worship leader at Avenue South Church, a regional campus of Brentwood Baptist Church. As a college student and young twenty-something he traveled with a successful regional Christian band, and then served as a worship leader at several churches before moving to Nashville and accepting his current position at Avenue South. Ronnie and his wife Shaunti have two awesome kiddos and live in Nashville, TN.
Tonight I am so glad to have Ronnie Dennis as my special guest. I've been a friend of the congregation at The Church At Avenue South for a long time now, and I'm grateful to get to serve with Ronnie every few months on Sunday mornings. He is a kind and humble soul who finds joy in giving others the opportunity to use their gifts, values input from those serving alongside him, and generally puts others ahead of himself. Ronnie is a fellow Mississippian which is always sweet to get to serve with someone who knows where you've come from...even if where you've come from is leading worship at a Bible study in a bar on Monday nights when they were closed...which we actually did together on several occasions back in the day.
Yesterday Nashville had a line of storms come through. Wind speeds were clocked at 76 miles per hour. Lots of damage happened. 101,000 customers are still without electricity, down from 130,000 last night. Two of our friends have trees on their cars, a few more have trees on their houses and fences. On this, the 10-year anniversary of the great Nashville Flood of 2010, many citizens of our fair city are now facing the reality of being quarantined, without power, in damaged homes or without vehicles. We're still limping along from the tornados and COVID-19 and now we're gearing up for a second night of straight line winds. I know many of you might feel this way about things in your own lives...maybe you keep experiencing loss or hardship or sadness and it seems overwhelmingly too much.
This hymn has long been a favorite of mine. The melody is sing-able and lilting, the words uplifting and comforting. It pulls you in to a joyful space where one can't help but simply sing, "Praise to the Lord! Praise! Praise!" When I scheduled this one for tonight, I certainly had no idea it would come on the heels of more bad weather and loss for our town, but maybe it's the reminder that we need right now. That even in this, the Lord is still worthy of adoration and praise. That He is our health, our salvation, He is wondrously reigning, He shelters us, sustains us...I find that comforting in a season like this where everything seems upside down.
Stories and thoughts and current happenings in music and life
Bethany is a freelance violinist/fiddler and tour manager who works with artists & events such as Kelly Minter, Cultivate: A Gathering Around The Word and Laura Story. She and her husband Keith live in Nashville, TN with their daughter Clare, cat & 6 backyard chickens. For more info on Bethany, visit her bio page!!