Psalm 46: The Lord of All Is with Us

Update 10/1/20: Sheet music for this song can be downloaded here.

In this, my third-to-last Adopt-a-Psalm song, knowing I was writing something to commemorate the Reformation—and especially because Luther himself set Psalm 46 to music—I knew this needed to be special. I’m a huge fan of the lively rhythmic tunes from the Reformation. They dance in a way that their later, isometric descendants don’t. I had great success with a 7/8 setting of Psalm 78 for a Calvin commemoration (I won a contest and a trip to Berlin), so I decided I’d build on that by writing this setting of Psalm 46 in 4+6/8.

The mixed meter makes this a little more difficult than the average hymn. It may be wise to sing it in unison to start with. (My understanding is that Calvin and Luther’s congregations would have sung in unison.) Once February is done and all my Adopt-a-Psalm songs are written, I’m going to return to this and write an accompaniment that will fill in some of the rests and support the congregation. If all else fails, the text can be sung to EIN FESTE BURG. (Another tip of the hat to Luther.)

Get some practice reading mixed meters (see link above), or simply listen to me attempting to sing all four parts.

The song text is in three verses, which correspond to the sections of Psalm 46. Each ends with, “The Lord of all is with us”–a boiled down version of “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” which ends each section of the Psalm. Whereas Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress” concentrated on the citadel aspect of the Psalm, I chose to focus on the theme of city. In fact, early drafts of the song used the phrase “city of refuge” and “sanctuary city.” What was fascinating to me as I studied the Psalm was how it resonated with the vision of the heavenly city in Revelation 21 and 22. Read them side by side; you’ll be amazed. In any case, I borrowed a good deal of language from Revelation and was even able to sneak in a reference to Emmanuel, “God with us.”

1. O, Lord of all, you are our home,
our strength, and our sure refuge;
our only hope in fiercest storm
to whom we run for rescue.

The ground beneath our feet
may slip into the sea,
but still we will not fear;
in you, we rest secure.
The Lord of all is with us.

2. A river flowing from God’s throne
brings life, and joy, and healing.
God’s splendor, shining like the sun,
gives light to all the people.

For though the nations roar,
soon comes a glorious morn.
Our God will come and dwell
as our Emmanuel:
The Lord of all is with us.

3. Come see the marvels God has done.
Behold with awe and wonder.
Hear how the battle’s deafening sound
falls silent at God’s thunder:

“I AM your God, be still.”
Let all the nations kneel.
Exalt the Lord of all,
your refuge, strength, and home.
The Lord of all is with us.

This entry was posted in Adopt-a-Psalm, 2017, Choir, Church, Congregational Songs, Demos, FAWM 2017. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Psalm 46: The Lord of All Is with Us

  1. Pingback: Psalm 46: O Lord of All, You Are Our Home | The Musical Diary of Greg Scheer

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