Diephouse/Scheer strike again!
A month ago, I decided that Psalm 80′s vine themes would fit perfectly with a sermon on “I am the Vine.” But I wasn’t sold on any of the versions I found. The closest thing to something that excited me was a stodgy metrical text paired with a great Genevan tune that I hadn’t heard before, O PASTEUR D’ISRAEL, ESCOUTE.
So I sent David Diephouse an email: I think there could be some kind of rich ties between God clearing a place to plant a vine (Israel), Jesus ingrafting us into himself the Vine, and perhaps even the fruit of the vine and the Tree of Life. Play with it and see what you come up with, whether it’s a literal metrical setting or a looser hymn that treats Psalm 80 through New Testament eyes.
He, like me, works best when a songwriting project is a diversion from a pile of “real” work, and he quickly sent me a first draft. He would insist that the bulk of the final draft is my words, but the fact is he established the basic structure and set up key phrases like “graft us into the Living Vine.” Add a bit of advice on Goudimel’s harmonization from our church’s local music historian, Cal Stapert, and you end up with a really solid metrical Psalm that revives an overlooked, but beautifully singable Genevan tune.