Psalm 25

25A: Psalm 25:1-10 A Responsorial Setting

Performance Notes:

For another way to sing the psalms, many congregations are returning to the ancient practice of "responsorial psalmody," similar to responsive reading but including the voice of the people in song. Responsorial psalmody—repeating short memorable refrains that capture the core idea of the psalm after reading sections of the psalm—has become very popular around the world. This ancient practice dates back to the Old Testament, when the priests may have chanted the psalm text and invited the people to respond with alleluias and amens. Psalm 136 is the clearest example of responsorial structure.

This setting of Psalm 25 (found also in Songs for LIFE) was composed by Marty Haugen, well-known composer of much new contemporary music for the church. Here are several ideas for singing this setting of Psalm 25.

If you have a choir, just give them a chord and let them sing the psalm as an introduction rather than having the organ play the tune through first. If the choir stands near the front, the director should first direct the choir, accompanied by keyboard, and then turn, without missing a beat, and direct the congregation, perhaps with the added accompaniment in a duet fashion. The chordal style would be best played on the organ, and the more active rhythmic setting on piano.

Then have someone read the first section of text, followed by everyone singing the refrain again. There is no need for a keyboard introduction; the time is short enough to remember the pitch. The organist can simply start playing, and if the choir or worship leader begins right away as well, the congregation will have no trouble entering. There is no need to place the entire psalm text in the bulletin either; simply the refrain will be enough, though the choir and worship leaders should have the entire page.

Using one reader will be the simplest. But also consider having two or even four different readers. Experiment with having them stand in different parts of the congregation without mikes, if the acoustics will permit them to be heard easily.

An alternate approach is to involve the children of the congregation instead of or in addition to the choir. A few weeks before singing this psalm, teach the refrain along with signing motions to the children in church school. Then on the Sunday you sing it together, invite them forward to lead the congregation. Perhaps the entire congregation will want to learn the signs to the simple refrain of this profound prayer. Consider using Psalm 25 as a call to confession or a response to another passage of Scripture.

Other Resources:

  • Purchase an octavo arrangement or a recording of the full song by Marty Haugen and published by GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Marty Haugen (b. 1950) © 1982 GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: © 2006 Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net.
    • Please use the correct copyright line when reprinting the Psalm Text and Tone.

25B: LORD, I Gladly Trust

Performance Notes:

Tune Information:

REDHEAD 76 is named for its composer, who published it as number 76 in his influential Church Hymn Tunes, Ancient and Modern (1853) as a setting for the hymn text "Rock of Ages." It has been associated with Psalm 51 since the 1912 Psalter, where the tune was named AJALON. The tune is also known as PETRA from its association with "Rock of Ages," and GETHSEMANE, which derives from the text "Go to Dark Gethsemane" (381).

Of the three long lines constituting REDHEAD 76, the last is almost identical to the first, and the middle line has an internal repeat. Well-suited to singing in parts, this music is also appropriate for unaccompanied singing.

Richard Redhead (b. Harrow, Middlesex, England, 1820; d. Hellingley, Sussex, England, 1901) was a chorister at Magdalen College, Oxford. At age nineteen he was invited to become organist at Margaret Chapel (later All Saints Church), London. Greatly influencing the musical tradition of the church, he remained in that position for twenty-five years as organist and an excellent trainer of the boys' choirs. Redhead and the church's rector, Frederick Oakeley, were strongly committed to the Oxford Movement, which favored the introduction of Roman elements into Anglican worship. Together they produced the first Anglican plainsong psalter, Laudes Diurnae (1843). Redhead spent the latter part of his career as organist at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Paddington (1864-1894).

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources. 
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, GETHSEMANE/PETRA/REDHEAD76/AJALON.

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Archer, Malcolm. After the Last Verse. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 502 6 [1995]
  • Burkhardt, Michael. Easy Hymn Settings Lent.  Morningstar MSM-10-315 [1992]
  • Busarow, Donald. Thirty More Accompaniments for Hymns in Canon. Augsburg11-10163 [1992]
  • Fedak, Alfred V. 25 More Harmonizations. Selah 160-729 [1998]
  • Noble, T. Tertius. Fifty Free Organ Accompaniments to Well-Known Hymn Tunes. J. Fischer 8430 [1949]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. 200 Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 189 6 [1991]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. More Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew [1996]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Maynard, Lynette. Let It Rip! At the Piano. vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Martin Leckebusch © 2006 Kevin Mayhew Ltd.
  • Music (REDHEAD 76|7.7.7.7.7.7): Richard Redhead, 1853, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: permitted with a CCLI License.
    • Music: The Music is the Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint it.

25C: To You, O God, I Lift Up My Soul

Other Resources:

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Bob Hurd (b. 1950) © 1991 Bob Hurd, admin. OCP Publications
  • Music: Bob Hurd (b. 1950); acc. Dominic MacAller © 1991 Bob Hurd, admin. OCP Publications
  • Reprint Information:

25D: LORD, to You My Soul is Lifted

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.
  • The following article is taken from the Psalter Hymnal Handbook.

Text Information:

A prayer for God's mercies when suffering affliction for sins and when enemies seize the opportunity to attack.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-7
st. 2 = vv.8-15
st. 3 = vv. 16-22

Enfeebled and distracted by illness or some other affliction (vv. 16¬-18), the psalmist in his distress recognizes the hand of God. But the affliction has also emboldened enemies to take advantage of the psalmist's weakened condition (v. 19), perhaps seeking to discredit him publicly through mischievous slander. In such traits, the psalmist encourages us also to humbly ask God for forgiveness and for Instruction and guidance into right ways (st. 1), to appeal to God's covenant faithfulness toward those who are faithful (st. 2), and to plead for deliverance from affliction and for relief from the opportunistic attacks of enemies (st. 3). Stanley Marvin Wiersma (b. Orange City, IA, 1930; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1986) versified Psalm 25 in 1980 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Wiersma was a poet and professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1959 until his sudden death in 1986. He attended Calvin as an under¬graduate and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. His love for the Genevan psalms is reflected in the two books of poetry for which he is most widely known: Purpaleanie and Other Permutations (1978) and Style and Class (1982), both written under the pseudonym Sietze Buning. He also wrote More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry and translated many Dutch poems and hymn texts into English, including the children's hymns published in All Will Be New (1982).

Liturgical Use
When personal or communal distress forces the Christian to turn to a gracious Lord–especially when the distress appears to discredit the church.

Tune Information:

Louis Bourgeois's GENEVAN 25 was first published in the 1551 edition of the Genevan Psalter. Howard Slenk harmonized the tune in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal. One of the most beautifully constructed Genevan tunes, 25 is noted especially for its rhythmic interest and form (AABC). Like many melodies of its time, the rhythmic units move easily between groupings of two and three quarter-notes. For example, the first phrase is grouped 3+2+3+2+2; the first note of each group carries the stressed syllable of the text. Though set to a reflective text, the music should not be sung too slowly; feel the half note as the basic pulse.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.  

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Stanley Wiersma (1930-1986), 1980, © 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Music (GENEVAN 25 |8.7.8.7.7.8.7.8): Louis Bourgeois (ca. 1510-1561), 1551; harm. Howard Slenk, 1985, © 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information: