The composition process is funny, because sometimes when you’re in the thick of writing something you begin to psych yourself out thinking that you’re polishing a fundamentally mediocre idea. I wrote a first draft of this yesterday, but by the end of the day I had so many Psalms in my head, I didn’t know which way was up. I put it aside and thought, “Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to start from scratch tomorrow.” But then in the evening, I played it for my kids and they really liked it. I slept on it and when I returned to it this morning I thought, “What was I thinking? This is really good!”
The melody flows like butter (if I might say so myself) and it supports lyrics and a Psalm text that has so many beautiful words: goodness, blessing without end, gracious, satisfy, compassion, care unbounded. It was just delightful to work with. I was telling my son Theo that after the 8th Psalm song I wrote this month I began to think I was repeating myself, but then I realized that themes like compassion and forgiveness are woven through all the Psalms.
Depending on who you ask, Psalm 145 is thought to be in four parts, with sections on a God who is great, good, faithful, and righteous. Those themes are bookended by verses 1-2 and verse 21. Since I was only setting the second half of the Psalm I decided to turn v21 into a refrain and write two verses based on the faithful and righteous sections of the Psalm. I especially like how the music in the verse changes half way through and the lyrics switch from talking about God to praying to God.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord.
My tongue will bless God’s name.
All flesh shall see the goodness of God,
and blessings without end.
God has blessed us without end.
1. The Lord is gracious to all,
like a mother to her child.
God raises us when we fall
and sets us by his side.
Our eyes look up to you, Lord,
to provide our daily bread.
You satisfy our longings
when you open up your hand.
2. The Lord works justice for all.
God’s compassion knows no end.
God hears his children who call
and comes to our defense.
We wait, O Lord, surrounded
by those who’d do us harm.
Lord, in your care, unbounded,
reach down your saving arm.