Monday, October 22, 2007

I Sing the Mighty Power of God

I came across a great hymn this morning as I was praying the Liturgy of the Hours called "I Sing the Mighty Power of God." The words were written in 1715 by Isaac Watts, the "Father of English Hymnody" who is credited with writing 750 hymns, including such well-known ones as "Joy to the World!" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."

The hymn celebrates the power and the goodness of God, which is revealed through His creation, as Paul affirms in his Letter to the Romans: "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and his deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made" (1:20).

One of the tunes for the hymn is called Ellacombe, which you can hear here. These are the words, which first struck me:

I sing the mighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise;
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day.
The moon shines full at his command,
And all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord,
That filled the earth with food.
He formed the creatures with his word,
And then pronounced them good.
Lord, how your wonders are displayed
Where e'er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky!

There's not a plant or flower below,
But makes your glories known;
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from your throne;
While all that borrows life from you
Is ever in your care,
And everywhere that man can be,
You, God, are present there.

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