Psalm 65: We Praise You, God, in Silence and Singing

I was honored that Bethany Cok and Josh Parks asked me to compose music for their wedding. I’ve played with Josh many times before at Church of the Servant, Calvin University, and in the St. Sinner Orchestra, so it felt like a real vote of confidence to be included in his nuptials.

The rehearsal.

Bethany and Josh chose Psalm 65 as the song’s text. It was a great choice: Psalm 65 is a Psalm of thanksgiving that was likely written for one of the harvest festivals; its focus on entering God’s house, keeping vows, and God’s blessing make it a beautiful fit for a wedding.

The piece I wrote volleys back and forth between a congregational refrain that features a bold, ascending melody I’ve dubbed a “Mannheim Mountain,” and lush, rhapsodic verses.

You might wonder about the opening phrase “We Praise You, God, in Silence and Singing.” Why “in silence” when it’s a song? Well, the first phrase of Psalm 65 “Praise awaits you,” is unclear in the Hebrew, but seems to carry the connotation of hushed awe—a quiet before a storm of praise. I decided to interpret that as “in silence and singing,” including a ripe silence before the return of each chorus.

I post this song on the day of Bethany and Josh’s wedding as a musical blessing on their union!

We praise you, God, in silence and singing,
in making of vows and lifting of prayers.
To you all people, in joy and thanksgiving,
renewed and forgiven,
to you they are streaming for you are our God.
And you, God, are good.

1. Blessed are the ones you draw to you courts–
guests in the house of the Lord.
Riches o’erflow and spill out the doors–
blessings that fill the whole earth! REFRAIN

2. For you pushed the mountains into place
with the strength of your hand;
and you hushed the chaos of the waves,
for even the seas obey your commands;
and you change the chattering of all the nations into choirs of joy!
And the whole world hums with your praise! REFRAIN

3. You care for the land, you soak the ground,
and you shower it with riches.
You fill the streams and soften the soil
and you flood the furrows and ditches.
The year is crowned with blessing;
her path flows with abundance;
her hills are covered in gladness;
her meadows clothed in flocks;
her vales are robed in wheat and grain–
they shout for joy! They sing!
They shout for joy and they sing! REFRAIN

This entry was posted in Art Music, Church, Commissions, Congregational Songs, Demos, Live, Psalms. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Psalm 65: We Praise You, God, in Silence and Singing

  1. Ron Rienstra says:

    This was an amazing contribution to the nuptials, Greg! Well done!

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