Crystal Ball, Jun-Aug 2021

Are we really half way through the year? The weeks roll by but each day we find some new pleasure in creation, each week a new psalm to sing. Here are music suggestions with particular relevance to Woden Valley Uniting.


  • We are in that mid-year zone when there are two OT readings and two psalms listed in the Lectionary, thematic or historical. This selection usually relates to the first listed, the second being shown in brackets.
  • To see more music or comments about a particular psalm, go to the relevant page via the Index of psalms by number in the menu. (Also linked in para headings below.)

6 Jun, Psalm 138 (or 130). Together in Song and The Emergent Psalter have attractive and relevant refrains: TiS 86 by Arlo Duba ‘The rulers of all the earth’; and ‘They shall sing’ by Everett. However, both these books suggest that the words be spoken, not sung. We have not sung TiS 86 before as far as I can recall, but the second one is also attractive and our choice for this Sunday. A cantor will sing verses based on the refrain and chords.

13 Jun, Psalm 20 (92). PFAS 20B is a Byzantine chant. It’s plain vanilla Gm7-F-C chords but will engage any congregation when sung in a couple of parts. A second choice when short of singers, as in our case this week, is The Emergent Psalter‘s ‘Some take pride in horses’. This is a lively anti-war refrain with catchy harmonies on the progression A C G D. ALL SINGERS invited.

20 Jun, Psalm 9:9-20 (133). A traditional Paraguayan tune, ‘On the poor show your mercy’, is a clear winner. This is found in Psalms for All Seasons 9B. A new metrical paraphrase of the verses means we can sing them to this catchy tune. ALL SINGERS welcome.

27 Jun, Psalm 130 (30). Sinead’s ‘Out of the depths’ is a sweet tune. Its simplicity allows the words — those of the psalm rather than hers — to take full effect. This psalm comes up again in August, so our visiting soloist backed by a small women’s group will hopefully sing on both occasions.

4 Jul, Psalm 48 (123). [Note: Wearing of masks has been re-imposed in Canberra. Volunteer soloists are invited until further notice.] Psalm 48 worships a divine presence imagined in the holy places, Mount Zion and the city of God. In past years, we have for some reason used the alternative reading, Psalm 123. If this pattern is followed, then we would reprise ‘Our eyes rest on you’ from Psalms for All Seasons 123B.

11 Jul, Psalm 24 (85). ‘Who shall ascend to the holy hill?’ The Emergent Psalter has a good refrain but without a choir, we shall turn to Psalms for All Seasons 24E which uses a familiar Israeli folk song. Its familiarity will facilitate congregational participation.

Domini est terra, et plenitudo ejus (The earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is); Verse 1 of Psalm 24 in the Rutland Psalter, British c. 1260. British Library MS 62925

18 Jul, Psalm 89:20-37 (23). Together in Song 46 by Christopher Willcock, ‘I will sing forever’, does not quite cover the set verses but this can be remedied. A good choice for volunteer soloists.

25 Jul, Psalm 14 (145). [Psalm leader is away this Sunday and next.]

  • Psalm 14 has a definitely confessional or lamenting ring to it. I have entitled its main page ‘The Justice blues’! )Nothing in TiS and The Emergent Psalter requires the singer to supply a tone of choice.)
  • If this does not suit the dynamic of the day, choose Psalm 145. PFAS has a nice setting if soloist and pianist are available; otherwise TiS 89 may be sung to the set tune or to TiS 439.

1 Aug, Psalm 51:1-12 (78) [Psalm leader away.] The male voice group presented ‘The sacrifice you accept’ from Psalms for All Seasons 51G on 21 March this year. However, we don’t have a quorum so it could be done as a solo. If not, try TiS 31 as a hymn.

Meanwhile, here is the Allegri’s take on Psalm 51, Miserere mei:

8 Aug, Psalm 130 (34). Sinead’s version of ‘Out of the depths’ is simple and effective. A reprise by the women who presented this song so beautifully on 27 June.

15 Aug, Psalm 111 (34). ‘To honour God’ has soared true in flight trials, so we program it again this week. ALL SINGERS.

22 Aug, Psalm 84 (34). The theme is equity. ‘How dear is your dwelling place’ uses the same tune as that shown for Psalm 111 above. ALL SINGERS again.

29 Aug, Psalm 45 (15). During 2020 the year that wasn’t, our CoVideo was played remotely to online worship, featuring the John Bell tune ‘Take me as I am’. We could reprise this, with a tone for the verses. (See PFAS 45B alternate refrain.)

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