Psalm 8, 7 June 2020

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth. (v.1)

This opening declaration is repeated at the end. It therefore appears to be the first psalm in the Psalter with an internal antiphon to be sung as a responsive expression of thanks and praise.

Actually, the verse has little to do with the content of the psalm in the intervening verses, which reflect on the honours and responsibilities of humankind in the creation, and our place in the universe:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is humanity, that you should be mindful of them?

Ps 104:3,4

It’s a question that has bothered thinkers forever. A part of the answer, at least, is here; carers. Like Psalm 104 last week, it’s an important reminder of our duty of care for the environment.

For more, please see the relevant post in 2017>

🎵

So familiar and established is the opening verse quoted at the outset, that it somehow resists revision to modern standards of language expression and gender neutrality. Many classic songs quote this verse in their opening lines, as does the refrain in PFAS 8C.

Together in Song is not known as an enlightened source for such inclusivity. However, as it may be available for those stranded at home, turn perhaps to TiS 3. (TiS 4, being plainsong, needs a little experience in this genre.)

Isaac Everett, more attuned in The Emergent Psalter to this need, overcomes the sensitivity simply enough:

O God our sovereign, how great is your name in all the earth.

For the enterprising and determined, the piano music for this refrain may be freely downloaded at Churchpublishing.org but as usual, you have to decide for yourself what to do with the verses — pick a tune or improvise.

Several songs on this psalm inhabit the Tube. Choose your style, of course. Amongst the classical recordings, Domine dominus noster by Lasso (listen>) is a frequent appearance, with several chant versions and one by the Latvian composer Richard Dubra (listen>) close behind. A modern song with the text overlay follows:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.