Blest Be the God of Israel

Update 1/24/22: Sheet music for this song is now available at

Yesterday was Church of the Servant’s monthly BES Combined Service. That’s the service that brings the “Basic English” congregation together with those in the “Standard English” service. I try to choose music that both congregations know or that uses simple lyrics, while still following the same liturgical movements and lectionary texts. Not an easy task.

Yesterday the lectionary called for the Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79; the song of Zechariah) as the “Psalm” for the day. The most accessible version I found was Michael Perry‘s 1973 text, “Blest Be the God of Israel.” (Although I changed the word “harbinger” to “messenger.”) It’s usually paired with MERLE’S TUNE by Hal Hopson. That’s a beautiful tune, but wasn’t quite in the groove of a BES Combo service, so I finished up an idea I had been working on a few weeks before. This new tune has a lot of similarities to the Peruvian Gloria, and could even use that as an extended Amen at the end of the song.

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