Psalm 27

27A: The Lord is My Light

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Purchase this song in a collection or a recording of this song from the Taizé Community and published by GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: The Community of Taizé © 1991 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, Taizé Community, France, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
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27B: The Lord is My Light

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • Buy a recording of this song from Princeton Theological Seminary's Touring Choir, on their CD "Sing Praise to the Lord!".

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Lillian Bouknight © 1981 Peermusic III, Ltd. and Savgos Music, Inc., admin. Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Music: Lillian Bouknight; arr. Paul Gainer © 1980 Peermusic III, Ltd. and Savgos Music, Inc., admin. Hal Leonard Corporation
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27C: O LORD, You Are My Light

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • The following are alternative accompaniments for this tune, RHOSYMEDRE

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Cassler, G. Winston. Organ Descants for Selected Hymns. Augsburg 11-9304 [1972]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. More Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew [1996]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Carlson, J. Bert. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000]
  • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: st. 1 Psalter, 1887; sts. 2-4 Psalter, 1912, alt., P.D.
  • Music (RHOSYMEDRE 6.6.6.6.8.8 with repeat): John D. Edwards, ca. 1840, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Word and Music: Both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

27D: God Is My Strong Salvation

Performance Notes:

Tune Information:

Melchior Vulpius composed this short chorale tune, published as a setting for the anonymous funeral hymn "Christus, der ist me in Leben" ("For Me to Live Is Jesus") in Vulpius's Ein Schön Geistlich Gesangbuch (1609). Johann S. Bach based his Cantata 95 on this tune and provided two harmonizations, one in duple and the other in triple meter, in his Charalgesänge.

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words: James Montgomery, 1822, alt. 1988, P.D.
  • Music (CHRISTUS, DER IST MEIN LEBEN 7.6.7.6): Melchoir Vulpius, 1609, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: Both are in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint this song.

27E: An Accompaniment for Reading

 Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Julie Howard © 1992 Liturgical Press
  • Music: Julie Howard; arr. Vera Lyons © 1992 Liturgical Press
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27F: The Lord is My Light and My Stronghold

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 by Emily Brink and is taken from Reformed Worship.

Click to listen [ melody ]

Probably few readers of Reformed Worship have even considered, much less introduced, improvisational jazz in worship. Just as adding musical styles that called for piano or guitar a generation ago was controversial—and still is for some congregations—adding jazz may be a stretch for your congregation. But short refrains offer a good opportunity for your congregation to try a new sound to a favorite psalm of trust.

On page 42, Ron Rienstra writes about the pattern of creating new psalm refrains for jazz vespers. One of the psalms mentioned is Psalm 27; here is the refrain composed by Calvin College student Angel Napieralski for one of those services. Typical of jazz, only the melody and chords are provided, since the arrangement is largely improvised from that chord chart. In fact, the arrangement would probably be a bit different every time it was played. But the chords are essential, and those provided here by Dan Richardson are what create the jazz sound.

The improvisational skills required of jazz musicians are similar to the old ways of accompanying psalms and hymns in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The hymnals contained the melodies, and the organist was expected to create the harmonies. That improvisational requirement largely disappeared during the twentieth century but is making a comeback today, so that organists and other musicians are once more learning the craft of accompanying a melody without reference to a notated score beyond a melody and series of chord symbols.

One of the challenges of much contemporary worship music is to create melodies that are friendly to large groups singing them, rather than soloists. Though the recording of this song (available on our website) is sung by a soloist, this melody is very accessible to congregations, and the familiar old text helps bridge the gap between the words of confession and the music to which they are set. This past summer, Ron Rienstra told me about trying it out at the annual general assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

I helped to lead morning prayer one day. As we planned the service, I had some trepidation as I suggested this jazz psalm. After all, these were classically-trained, German-chorale-loving musicians. But I was very pleased with how well we were able pray this close-to-the-ground jazz psalm without it sounding forced or square. Our ensemble was modest: a pianist, a bassist, and two lead vocalists. We taught the refrain to the congregation by playing it through twice and then inviting them to sing along the third time. When we moved on to the stanzas, one of the vocalists read the text from the psalm while the instrumentalists played the chords. We didn’t pay close attention to keeping a pulse through the stanzas—we merely listened to where the reader was and used a nod of the head or some other simple gesture to be certain we changed chords at the same time. In the last chord, we regained a beat (through some simple subdivisions in the piano), and then offered a repetition of the chord as a cue to return to the refrain.

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Daniel Richardson and Angel Napieralski © 2010 Daniel Richardson and Angel Napieralski, admin. Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Text: Psalm 27 © THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • When reprinting the Text, please use the correct copyright line.

27G: El Señor es mi luz/The Lord is My Light

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalm 27 © 1970 Comisión Episcopal Española de Liturgia; tr. Mary Louise Bringle (b. 1953), 2011
  • Music: Father Alberto Taulé; arr. Gerhard Cartford © 1982 Fr. Alberto Taulé, admin. OCP Publications
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27H: A Responsorial Setting

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this setting, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.
  • For more information about this song, refer to the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation.

Other Arrangements:

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalm 27:1 © 1983 GIA Publications, Inc.
  • Music: David Haas (b. 1957) © 1983 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 for the Refrain:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net.
    • When reprinting the Psalm Text and the Tone, please use the correct copyright line.

 

  • Alternative Refrain Words and Music: from The Divine Liturgy: An Anthology for Worship © Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies
  • Alternative Tone: © 2011 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Reprint Information for the Alternative Refrain:

27I: One Thing I Ask

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words and Music: Andy Park © 1987 Mercy/Vineyard Publishing & Vineyard Songs (Canada), admin. Music Services o/b/o Vineyard Music USA
  • Reprint Information:

27J: The Lord is My Light

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1079 of Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship.
  • For more information about this song, refer to the Leader’s Edition of Sing! A New Creation.
  • The following article by Emily Brink and comes from Reformed Worship.

Psalm 27 is a favorite of many people, probably because of its powerful opening line: "The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?" Although this psalm is often associated with Epiphany the time when we celebrate Christ as the light of the world, it is certainly appropriate at any time of year, even during the long days of summer. There is, after all, more than one kind of darkness, and it becomes clear rather quickly that the psalmist is singing on a very dark day.

Psalm 27 is a bit like whistling in the dark, trying hard to keep up courage by remembering that the current darkness can be overcome by the power of God's light. In that sense it is a protest psalm, denouncing and challenging the power of evil by proclaiming with confidence that God's power is stronger than any evil power, and that "in the day of trouble he will keep me safe."

Christians in Eastern Europe have learned in tragic ways over the past couple of years the power of evil. Singing Psalm 27 must take on a more urgent meaning for them than it does for those of us who do not know war or hunger. One way that Christians can pray in intercession for those living in fear and deprivation is to sing this psalm, using a melody, like this one, from that part of the world.

This traditional Czechoslovakian melody comes from the Evangelicky Zpelsnik hymnbook of the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren. It was included in Many and Great, one of the collections of world songs gathered by John Bell of the Iona Community (see p. 23). It may be sung as a hymn, or turned into a responsorial psalm, singing the first stanza as a refrain and reading the psalm. Then sing the refrain at the beginning and after verses 3,6,9,12, and 14.

One of the advantages of responsorial psalm singing is the short refrain, which can quickly be memorized. Singing this psalm refrain over and over again during the month will help to sink the truth of this Scripture into the hearts of all who sing, so that it will be there to comfort us in whatever days of trouble might come our way.

Other Resources:

  • Visit hymnary.org for more information on this song and additional resources.
  • Purchase this song in a collection or a recording written by John Bell and published by GIA Publications, Inc.

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalm 27; para. The Iona Community © 1990 Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community Scotland, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
  • Music (CZECHOSLOVAKIA): Czechoslovakian hymn tune (17th c.), P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net.
    • Music: The Music is in the Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint it.