Psalm 85

85A: LORD, You Have Lavished On Your Land

Performance Notes:

Text Information:

A communal prayer requesting God's forgiveness and the full experience of his saving love and faithfulness.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-7
st. 3 = vv. 8-9
st. 4 = vv. 10-13

In a time of distress after being restored from captivity, the people of God pray for a renewal of God's mercies. If the restoration referred to is Israel's return from Babylon, the troubles are probably those alluded to in Nehemiah and Malachi–verse 12 suggests a severe drought. As you have pardoned and restored us before, prays the psalmist, show us your grace once more (st. 1). Forgive, revive, and bless us in your mercy, O God (st. 2). Surely the LORD's salvation is near and unfailing (st. 3). God's love and faithfulness and righteousness and peace all come together in God's grace (st. 4). The beautiful imagery of love and faithfulness meeting together while "righteousness and peace kiss each other" (v. 10) has made Psalm 85 a favorite for God's people everywhere. Marie J. Post versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
A favorite in traditional Christian liturgies for the Advent season; many other occasions.

Tune Information:

The setting here is by John B. Dykes, originally composed as a setting for William Whiting's "Eternal Father, Strong to Save." Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) with that text, MELITA is often referred to as the "navy hymn." The tune is named after the island of Malta where Paul was shipwrecked.

A fine tune, MELITA is marked by good use of melodic sequences and a harmony that features several dominant sevenths (both are Dykes's trademarks). Sing in harmony; because the lines flow into each other in almost breathless fashion, use a stately tempo.

Other Resources:

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

Alternative Harmonization for Organ and Descant Resources:

  • Archer, Malcolm. After the Last Verse. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 502 6 [1995]
  • Johnson, David N. Free Harmonizations of Twelve Hymn Tunes. Augsburg 11-9190 [1964]
  • Mawby, Colin.  Hymns for Occasions. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0-86209-568-9 [1994]
  • Noble, T. Tertius. Free Organ Accompaniments to One Hundred Well-Known Hymn Tunes. J. Fischer 8175 [1946]
  • Rawsthorne, Noel. 200 Last Verses. Kevin Mayhew ISBN 0 86209 189 6 [1991]
  • Wyton, Alec. New Shoots from Old Roots. SMP KK 279 [1983]

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Hopson, Hal H. The Creative Use of the Piano in Worship. Hope 8392 [2008]
  • Maynard, Lynette. Let It Rip! At the Piano. vol. 2 Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003]

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Marie J. Post, 1985, © 1987 Faith Alive Christian Resources
  • Music (MELITA 8.8.8.8.8.8): John B. Dykes (1823-1876), 1861, P.D.
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net or a CCLI License.
    • Music: The Music is in Public Domain. You do not need permission to reprint the Music.

85B: Dona nobis pacem

Performance Notes:

  • For performance notes on this song, see page 1085 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: traditional
  • Music: The Community of Taizé © 1982, 1983, 1984 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, Taizé Community, France, GIA Publications, Inc., exclusive North American agent
  • Reprint Information:

85C: A Responsorial Setting

Other Resources:

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

Copyright Information:

  • Words: Psalm 85
  • Music: Mary David Callahan, O. S. B. from Psalter for Worship, Cycle B © 1996 Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Psalm Text: from Evangelical Lutheran Worship © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Tone: from Psalter for Worship, Cycle B © 1996 Augsburg Fortress Publishers
  • Reprint Information:
    • Words and Music: permitted with a license from OneLicense.net.
    • When reprinting the Psalm Text and Tone, please use the correct copyright line.